Apple VR headset for $1,000 arrives in 2022, a year ahead of 'Apple Glass'

Posted:
in General Discussion edited February 4
Reportedly facing design and development issues, "Apple Glass" may now be preceded by a separate Apple VR headset that will be an expensive rival to Oculus.

The Magic Leap One Lightwear AR goggles, an example of an AR headset
The Magic Leap One Lightwear AR goggles, an example of an AR headset


The forthcoming "Apple Glass" AR headset has reportedly hit more than one hurdle in its development and may now be beaten to market by an alternative Apple device. This is expected to be a heavier, more familiar-looking VR headset, akin to Oculus or PlayStation VR, but more expensive.

According to Bloomberg, Apple plans to launch this new headset in 2022, and price it above the $300 to $900 of its rivals. It's believed that Apple expects this to only sell in low volumes, reportedly only one headset per day per Apple Store, similar to how the Mac Pro sells now.






The headset is said to be codenamed N301 and is said to be in the late prototype stage. It's claimed that the headset will contain processors that out-perform the Apple M1 chips in the new Apple Silicon Macs.

"Apple Glass," codenamed N431, on the other hand, are reportedly said to be in a pre-prototype stage known as "architecture." This means Apple is still at the stage of developing underlying "Apple Glass" technologies instead of physical devices.

Apple has been working on different designs of headsets for many years, with Jony Ive reportedly delaying one over design concerns.

His chief disagreement with Apple's plans at the time was that the company wanted to release a two-part system. There would be a headset and a separate device that would contain the processors.

According to Bloomberg, one issue with bundling the processors into the single headset design of "Apple Glass" has been that it made the device heavy. Reportedly, early testing raised issues over neck strain.

Oculus Rift VR headset
Oculus Rift VR headset


Apple has also previously been reported to be working on auto-adjusting "Apple Glass" sets that would remove the need for prescription lenses. Bloomberg says that in the current design, Apple has reduced the size by removing the space that VR headsets typically keep for prescription lenses.

This could mean that Apple is confident of its alternative to prescription lenses. However, it would raise issues over setting up the lenses when buying at an Apple Store or online. And different countries have different series of regulations regarding such lenses, which Apple would most likely have to address so that one single device could be sold everywhere.

This isn't the first report that Apple may not start its wearable AR headset plans with the expected "Apple Glass." In September 2020, Jean-Louis Gassee predicted Apple would start with Virtual Reality goggles.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 38
    Hard pass!
    razorpit
  • Reply 2 of 38
    fred1fred1 Posts: 829member
    Not sure why the issue over the prescription lenses. I’ve taken frames I already had and lenses were made and installed in them. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 38
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,395moderator
    Seems like AR (apple has shown interest in and released development tools for) is meaningfully different than VR.  I wouldn’t necessarily place a VR headset along the roadmap to AR glasses.  The only really meaningful commonality is the need to greatly shrink the electronics.  
    randominternetpersondrdavidfastasleepwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 38
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 5,901member
    I was ready to upgrade the Oculus Go to a Quest 2 but when it became known that a verified ID and a Facebook account were absolute requirements those plans got shelved.

    The Quest 2 and pricing are attractive but Facebook screwed up by trying to force users into their claws. 

    I don't mind using WhatsApp or Oculus 'by' Facebook but I don't want to be full on inside Facebook. 

    I hope I'm not alone and others have shelved purchase plans. There is now hopefully a self induced gaping hole in the market for others to fill.

    Apple could do it but only if they get pricing right along with a couple of other vital elements:

    Battery life
    Image quality 
    Keeping the device from overheating 
    edited January 21 F_Kent_DroakeJapheymuthuk_vanalingamrepressthisfred1
  • Reply 5 of 38
    I don’t really see what the big deal is with two devices. I don’t take my iPad outside my home unless I’m traveling and I certainly wouldn’t use a full blown VR headset in public either. However, outside the home I’m rarely without my iPhone and only without my watch if I somehow forget it. Similarly, I don’t take my Beats Studio headphones outside my home but always have my AirPods. Apple’s devices fit specific use cases and (as long as I have total control over privacy, ads, displayed content etc) I can’t wait for an Apple Glass AR/HUD device for “everyday” use and an immersive dedicated VR device. I’ll take both. I want both. I’m pretty sure that if done right, Glass will have an even quicker and more ubiquitous adoption than iPhone did. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 38
    If this is intended for gaming, at $1,000, this headset will not be a "rival" to Oculus.  The most expensive Oculus Quest 2 is $400, and their catalog of games includes a raft of excellent and outstanding titles.  If it weren't for the required facebook integration (about which, frankly, most people absolutely DO NOT CARE), I might already have one, in addition to my Valve Index.  It might be a rival for the Index, which is also priced at $1,000, and depending on specs, the Reverb G2, but to truly be a rival, it's going to need to deliver the same level of gaming as the Quest 2 and Index.  That means either a catalog of games on par with those available on the other platforms or integration/compatibility with Steam VR or the Oculus store.  

    Now, if there is some compelling use case besides gaming that factors in (which most assuredly could exist in spite of my inability to see it), then what I've outlined above might not be completely relevant, or might be irrelevant entirely.

    can see a use case if such a headset could be attached to a Mac or Mac Mini and used to create multiple virtual screens, providing the quality of such a virtual display could approach a real one.  With good hand tracking (similar to what the Quest 2 offers at the moment), virtual keyboards, mice, trackpads, styli, and other input "devices" (a la Minority Report) that I can't imagine at the moment would be possible.  Might not be a market disruption like many other Apple devices, but it would be highly useful to some people.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 38
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    Ah … Bloomberg. 

    Right. 
    StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 38
    crowleycrowley Posts: 8,733member
    I’ll believe it when I see it. Doesn’t seem likely at all.
    razorpit
  • Reply 9 of 38
    Why every article of VR/AR headsets have to show the horrible Magic Leap device that makes the user look like a gigantic insect? There are better looking ones, or even design concepts that would better fit these articles. Moreover, Magic Leap is death or in its last heart beats...
    ramanpfaffwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 38
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,314member
    Considering Apple has all but abandoned VR support in macOS (and the probable external GPU requirement for all but the highest end Intel Macs) I don't think this is too likely. There aren't any games to play anyway since Valve is the only major publisher of real (i.e. non-mobile-esque) games on the Mac, and Valve abandoned Mac VR support since Apple was entirely disinterested.

    Apple seems to be under the impression their announcement of a major new technology or API will cause devs to flood to the Mac specifically to use it, and when that doesn't immediately happen they leave the devs that are using the new tech in the lurch for a few years, then all mention vanishes from Apple's website and the API gets deprecated for the next shiny new thing. Ultimately this makes devs even less likely to begin development for the Mac in the future.
    edited January 21 entropysrepressthisbyronl
  • Reply 11 of 38
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,573member
    This sounds sketchy AF. I don't see Apple selling an ultra-nice gaming headset. It just doesn't match how they operate....they do mass market devices. Yes the MacPro is niche, but it's a builder tool and the enormous price tag makes up for the loss in volume.
    randominternetpersonrepressthiswatto_cobramacplusplus
  • Reply 12 of 38
    zimmiezimmie Posts: 552member
    If this is intended for gaming, at $1,000, this headset will not be a "rival" to Oculus.  The most expensive Oculus Quest 2 is $400, and their catalog of games includes a raft of excellent and outstanding titles.  If it weren't for the required facebook integration (about which, frankly, most people absolutely DO NOT CARE), I might already have one, in addition to my Valve Index.  It might be a rival for the Index, which is also priced at $1,000, and depending on specs, the Reverb G2, but to truly be a rival, it's going to need to deliver the same level of gaming as the Quest 2 and Index.  That means either a catalog of games on par with those available on the other platforms or integration/compatibility with Steam VR or the Oculus store.  

    Now, if there is some compelling use case besides gaming that factors in (which most assuredly could exist in spite of my inability to see it), then what I've outlined above might not be completely relevant, or might be irrelevant entirely.

    can see a use case if such a headset could be attached to a Mac or Mac Mini and used to create multiple virtual screens, providing the quality of such a virtual display could approach a real one.  With good hand tracking (similar to what the Quest 2 offers at the moment), virtual keyboards, mice, trackpads, styli, and other input "devices" (a la Minority Report) that I can't imagine at the moment would be possible.  Might not be a market disruption like many other Apple devices, but it would be highly useful to some people.
    There's zero chance the quality of a virtual display on a $1k headset could approach the quality of even a $150 real display sitting in front of you. There are just too few pixels, and each one takes up too much arc.

    The Valve Index has a 120º diagonal field of view, and ~2153 pixel diagonal dimension. Just under 18 pixels per degree, or 0.05574706097º per pixel. That's 3.34 arcminutes (also called minutes of arc) per pixel. Normal human visual acuity (20/20 or 6/6) is defined as the ability to resolve a visual pattern spaced at 1 arcminute. Assuming pixel-perfect orientation and placement, the Index provides about 20/80 (or 6/24) vision.
    beowulfschmidtwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 38
    Apple VR is better paired with Apple TV rather than any Apple mobile device.   

    I’d expect a new Apple TV to be released at the same time.  The problem is getting major game studios on board.  To take advantage of VR you need to go beyond mobile gaming and compete directly with Xbox and Playstation.

    Is Apple willing to go all in with Apple VR?  We’ll see...
    ramanpfaffwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 38
    Sounds like a Bloomberg reporter fabricating a story for clicks. They do that a lot. No one ever seems to remember a week later and no one holds them to account for their lies. I wonder why that is.
    edited January 21 watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 38
    Facebook dropped the price of the Oculus 2 by $100 while also greatly improving the quality and performance of the headset. At just $300 the VR headset is selling like hotcakes. Consumers want affordable VR headsets. There is a much smaller market for prosumer VR headsets like the Valve Index and an even smaller market for business VR headsets mainly used for training. 

    At $1000, what market is Apple targeting? Consumers may pay a small premium for an Apple VR headset but will it really be more than three times as good as an Oculus Quest 3 in 2022?
  • Reply 16 of 38
    At $1000, what market is Apple targeting? Consumers may pay a small premium for an Apple VR headset but will it really be more than three times as good as an Oculus Quest 3 in 2022?
    Only demographic I can think of are perhaps design professionals (probably not even game dev professionals as another commenter noted). They seem to be off the rails with AR/VR. 
    OutdoorAppDeveloper
  • Reply 17 of 38
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,256member
               
    indieshackrazorpit
  • Reply 18 of 38
    MplsP said:
               
    I'm hoping they'll make me look like this :smile: 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 38
    zimmiezimmie Posts: 552member
    This sounds sketchy AF. I don't see Apple selling an ultra-nice gaming headset. It just doesn't match how they operate....they do mass market devices. Yes the MacPro is niche, but it's a builder tool and the enormous price tag makes up for the loss in volume.
    Who said anything about gaming? If Apple does VR, I expect it to be like HoloLens: a tool rather than a toy. Same as the Mac Pro.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 38
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,314member
    zimmie said:
    This sounds sketchy AF. I don't see Apple selling an ultra-nice gaming headset. It just doesn't match how they operate....they do mass market devices. Yes the MacPro is niche, but it's a builder tool and the enormous price tag makes up for the loss in volume.
    Who said anything about gaming? If Apple does VR, I expect it to be like HoloLens: a tool rather than a toy. Same as the Mac Pro.
    That would be pretty low volume though, especially as there are approximately zero Mac VR apps, since Apple is about 5 years behind the VR market and macOS has essentially no current support for it. Apple doesn't do low-volume. Which is why there's no xMac. Though that said the HP, MP and Airpods Max are pretty low volume.
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