Apple's mixed-reality headset has reached 'advanced' stage of development

Posted:
in General Discussion
Apple recently showed its upcoming mixed-reality headset to members of its board of directors, suggesting that the device is nearing completion and could be ready for a launch soon.

Apple MR headset render
Apple MR headset render


The iPhone maker demonstrated the AR/VR head-worn wearable to its eight board members earlier in May, Bloomberg reported Thursday. That alone is a sign that the device, which has long been in the rumor mill for years, has reached an advanced stage of development.

In addition to work on the actual device, Apple has also reportedly ramped up development of the headset's operating system, which could be dubbed "RealityOS."

The Apple VR headset is expected to be a premium device that's lighter and more comfortable to wear than competing visors. It'll feature a pair of 4K OLED displays, 15 different camera modules, and powerful silicon more akin to Apple's M1 than its A series of chips.

Additionally, it's expected to have advanced functionality such as eye tracking and support for detecting hand gestures. The headset won't come cheap, with one expected price of around $3,000.

The device could be followed by a much smaller and more augmented reality-focused "Apple Glass" model, though rumors of that device have died off in the last couple of years. The $3,000 MR headset is said to be more focused on gaming and VR experiences.

Development of the headset has not been easy for Apple, however. A report from Tuesday indicated that the company repeatedly hit technical and staffing snags. But since it first showed off prototypes of the device to board members in 2016, it appears that the headset has finally reached an advanced stage of development.

According to Bloomberg, the device could see an announcement as early as the end of 2022. However, it likely won't be ready for a full consumer launch until 2023.


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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 23
    tjwolftjwolf Posts: 424member
    If Apple indeed decides to sell the described device, it'll be a big flop.  Not so much because it won't be able to sell at all, but because it won't sell at the scale Apple needs.  Think about it: the described device will have powerful processing capabilities *on the headset* - well, that'll require a big battery.  The described device will also support VR/MR - again, more battery to drive high resolution displays.  While the device might also be capable of AR, who would want to wear big/ugly goggles for an extended period of time?  The only market for such goggles are gamers and geeks who don't mind looking foolish in public.

    I always thought Apple's smartest approach would be to keep all energy-intensive tasks on the iPhone, which already has plenty of battery and CPU power and let the AR glasses merely act as a display and sensor-data gathering device.  This would allow for "normal" looking glasses that folks are already accustomed to wearing all day.  And THAT market would be worth Apple's while.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 23
    mobirdmobird Posts: 695member
    I don't think I would call it a "big flop". More akin to the original HomePods disappointing adoption. But, they have to start somewhere...
    I look forward to seeing Meta's reactions and then one of them mumbling something to the tune of "we better start over".

    tjwolf said:
    If Apple indeed decides to sell the described device, it'll be a big flop.  Not so much because it won't be able to sell at all, but because it won't sell at the scale Apple needs.  Think about it: the described device will have powerful processing capabilities *on the headset* - well, that'll require a big battery.  The described device will also support VR/MR - again, more battery to drive high resolution displays.  While the device might also be capable of AR, who would want to wear big/ugly goggles for an extended period of time?  The only market for such goggles are gamers and geeks who don't mind looking foolish in public.

    I always thought Apple's smartest approach would be to keep all energy-intensive tasks on the iPhone, which already has plenty of battery and CPU power and let the AR glasses merely act as a display and sensor-data gathering device.  This would allow for "normal" looking glasses that folks are already accustomed to wearing all day.  And THAT market would be worth Apple's while.

    edited May 19 watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 23
    ravnorodomravnorodom Posts: 496member
    Interesting to see what Apple can come out with. I am pretty sure it won't be like the current bulky AR goggle. Apple has the know-how on flat technology. I hope it knocks the socks off Facebook Oculus. Also the existing of App Store will help push contents into the AR.
    edited May 19 radarthekatwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 23
    JP234JP234 Posts: 17member
    Who in the market for a VR/MR/AR headset wouldn't want one of these? No one, that's who!
    Who in the market for a VR/MR/AR headset could afford to spend $3,000 on one? Not many, that's who!
    Now, if it had all the features of an iPhone Pro and an iPad Pro combined with it, maybe...
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 23
    don't sell a $3,000 device unless it's really, really, really revolutionary and fun. Apple must know this, sources are not accurate
    hailthehamsterbaconstangwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 23
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 2,680member
    Depending on specs, $3k wouldn't be so bad compared to this: 

    https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/hololens/buy

    Microsoft is clearly aiming this at business and developers, not consumers. Apple doesn't usually introduce new products aimed at the top of the 'pro' segment, but maybe this will be different. I think Apple once had a marketing campaign involving the word 'different' ... 



    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 23
    mac_dogmac_dog Posts: 974member
    tjwolf said:
    If Apple indeed decides to sell the described device, it'll be a big flop. 
    Maybe apple should hire you in new product development or even marketing. Maybe a position in finance. /s
    sconosciutoqwerty52lollivermichelb76watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 23
    danoxdanox Posts: 952member
    tjwolf said:
    If Apple indeed decides to sell the described device, it'll be a big flop.  Not so much because it won't be able to sell at all, but because it won't sell at the scale Apple needs.  Think about it: the described device will have powerful processing capabilities *on the headset* - well, that'll require a big battery.  The described device will also support VR/MR - again, more battery to drive high resolution displays.  While the device might also be capable of AR, who would want to wear big/ugly goggles for an extended period of time?  The only market for such goggles are gamers and geeks who don't mind looking foolish in public.

    I always thought Apple's smartest approach would be to keep all energy-intensive tasks on the iPhone, which already has plenty of battery and CPU power and let the AR glasses merely act as a display and sensor-data gathering device.  This would allow for "normal" looking glasses that folks are already accustomed to wearing all day.  And THAT market would be worth Apple's while.
    Like the Apple Watch? Apple Pay, or Messages….
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 23
    rezwitsrezwits Posts: 817member
    tjwolf said:
    If Apple indeed decides to sell the described device, it'll be a big flop.  Not so much because it won't be able to sell at all, but because it won't sell at the scale Apple needs.  Think about it: the described device will have powerful processing capabilities *on the headset* - well, that'll require a big battery.  The described device will also support VR/MR - again, more battery to drive high resolution displays.  While the device might also be capable of AR, who would want to wear big/ugly goggles for an extended period of time?  The only market for such goggles are gamers and geeks who don't mind looking foolish in public.

    I always thought Apple's smartest approach would be to keep all energy-intensive tasks on the iPhone, which already has plenty of battery and CPU power and let the AR glasses merely act as a display and sensor-data gathering device.  This would allow for "normal" looking glasses that folks are already accustomed to wearing all day.  And THAT market would be worth Apple's while.
    JP234 said:
    Who in the market for a VR/MR/AR headset wouldn't want one of these? No one, that's who!
    Who in the market for a VR/MR/AR headset could afford to spend $3,000 on one? Not many, that's who!
    Now, if it had all the features of an iPhone Pro and an iPad Pro combined with it, maybe...
    In response to @tjwolf I wouldn't really say "big" flop.  AR/MR/VR is a really tough nut to crack in general.  But "Not be able to sell?"

    1) Bah, due to "Supply Constraints" nonsense aka real Supply and Demand, they'll be SOLD out and there won't be enough (first of all).
    2) In regards to "big" battery, have you heard about M1? or even the chips in AppleWatch? or even AirPods? and how small they are?
    3) And the wearing out and using AR, that is a product of the future, i.e. actual Glasses, these are supposedly Goggles for in house.

    Laters...
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 23
    JapheyJaphey Posts: 1,373member
    tjwolf said:
    If Apple indeed decides to sell the described device, it'll be a big flop.  Not so much because it won't be able to sell at all, but because it won't sell at the scale Apple needs.  Think about it: the described device will have powerful processing capabilities *on the headset* - well, that'll require a big battery.  The described device will also support VR/MR - again, more battery to drive high resolution displays.  While the device might also be capable of AR, who would want to wear big/ugly goggles for an extended period of time?  The only market for such goggles are gamers and geeks who don't mind looking foolish in public.

    I always thought Apple's smartest approach would be to keep all energy-intensive tasks on the iPhone, which already has plenty of battery and CPU power and let the AR glasses merely act as a display and sensor-data gathering device.  This would allow for "normal" looking glasses that folks are already accustomed to wearing all day.  And THAT market would be worth Apple's while.
    First of all, those AR glasses that you describe are coming as part of Stage 2 of Apple’s XR initiative. But, in order to get to those glasses, they have to release the bigger goggles first because the technology just isn’t there yet

    Secondly, these goggles aren’t meant to be worn out and about in public, they are meant to work at a desk or in the living room. So, don’t expect to see many of these in the wild once they are released. And while gamers and geeks will definitely be a part of the initial market for these, I guarantee the experiences they provide will draw a lot more people to them than that.

    Third of all, you’re basing your prediction that they will be a flop on a rumor.  Nobody knows how much they will actually cost. Other rumors have predicted a $1000 entry price, which I think is a little more realistic. But even if they are $3k, Apple already know they aren’t going to sell iPhone numbers of them. They’re actually expected to sell more like Mac Pro numbers which is 1 per day, per store. Nobody would call the Mac Pro a “flop”, would they?
    edited May 19 watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 23
    macguimacgui Posts: 2,148member
    I'm a n00b vis a vis AR and VR.  What I want is to run through the jungles of the Amazon Rain forest, zip across the planes of the Serengeti, fly over hill and dale, orbit the Moon or Saturn, sit beside Juan Manuel Fangio, Jackie Stewart, Louis Hamilton and not feel like I'm in a GTA game, and watch Top Gun in full screen glory.

    I've seen the Apple AR demos and that doesn't interest me at all. I say that not having Apple Glasses. That could change my mind. The Quest 2 interested me but I was put off by the Facebook requirement.

    Something beyond video game graphics and the ability to watch a big screen movie without a big screen. C'mon, Tim. You can do it!
    rundhvidh4y3swatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 23
    tshapitshapi Posts: 354member
    These won’t be marketed to “gamers” 
    MR goggles will be marketed toward creatives. People who design and build video games, possibly maybe people who edit and other creative types.  Typical apple customer base. 

    My understanding is gamers mostly like PC over Mac.  

    If apple wants to sell these and make these mainstream, it needs to find a general client group that will find this device useful. 

    I think apples holy grail is the AR apple glass.  That anyone can wear.  And this is just a stepping stone. 

    Also, my issue would be heat.  It will probably be a Bluetooth enabled device that works Using your phone. 
    edited May 19 h4y3swatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 23
    JapheyJaphey Posts: 1,373member
    macgui said:
    I'm a n00b vis a vis AR and VR.  What I want is to run through the jungles of the Amazon Rain forest, zip across the planes of the Serengeti, fly over hill and dale, orbit the Moon or Saturn, sit beside Juan Manuel Fangio, Jackie Stewart, Louis Hamilton and not feel like I'm in a GTA game, and watch Top Gun in full screen glory.

    I've seen the Apple AR demos and that doesn't interest me at all. I say that not having Apple Glasses. That could change my mind. The Quest 2 interested me but I was put off by the Facebook requirement.

    Something beyond video game graphics and the ability to watch a big screen movie without a big screen. C'mon, Tim. You can do it!
    All those experiences you listed sound awesome. That’s exactly what I’m hoping Apple can deliver. Personally, I’d love to tour the Vatican or the pyramids. Gaming is pretty far down the list for me. 
    h4y3s
  • Reply 14 of 23
    repressthisrepressthis Posts: 519member
    MR is gonna be the defining feature of this product. VR has been executed well enough by Oculus. Mixed Reality will shock the world if Apple gets it right. Still at $3K the masses cannot afford it. Not enough developers will create a robust ecosystem of games and content. Hyper niche like Oculus will be this device’s future. Might pave the way for the ubiquity of this tech 10 years from now. The big HomePod did not survive being niche 
    baconstangwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 23
    baconstangbaconstang Posts: 879member
    They need to offer a $1K set for gamers.

    For pro applications, it needs to be VERY flexible to accommodate the range of needs this could truly revolutionize for a wide variety of applications. 
    Price isn't that much of a barrier.  

    Most everyone else doesn't need this.  


     
    h4y3swatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 23
    h4y3sh4y3s Posts: 63member
    15 cameras? 
    6 for eye tracking (3 each, 4?)
    4 forward facing (binocular wide & tele)
    2 facing out
    1 up
    1 down?

    that's a lot of cameras!! 


    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 23
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 1,844member
    h4y3s said:
    15 cameras? 
    6 for eye tracking (3 each, 4?)
    4 forward facing (binocular wide & tele)
    2 facing out
    1 up
    1 down?

    that's a lot of cameras!! 


    If they are going to use hand gestures could be 6 facing out to get near wide downwards.
    h4y3swatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 23
    williamhwilliamh Posts: 838member
    This $3k model is for developers and early adopter enthusiasts to drive development of content that the rest of us will enjoy on a subsequent cheaper and simpler model.
    h4y3swatto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 23
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,379member
    Japhey said:
    macgui said:
    I'm a n00b vis a vis AR and VR.  What I want is to run through the jungles of the Amazon Rain forest, zip across the planes of the Serengeti, fly over hill and dale, orbit the Moon or Saturn, sit beside Juan Manuel Fangio, Jackie Stewart, Louis Hamilton and not feel like I'm in a GTA game, and watch Top Gun in full screen glory.

    I've seen the Apple AR demos and that doesn't interest me at all. I say that not having Apple Glasses. That could change my mind. The Quest 2 interested me but I was put off by the Facebook requirement.

    Something beyond video game graphics and the ability to watch a big screen movie without a big screen. C'mon, Tim. You can do it!
    All those experiences you listed sound awesome. That’s exactly what I’m hoping Apple can deliver. Personally, I’d love to tour the Vatican or the pyramids. Gaming is pretty far down the list for me. 
    Gaming is where the money will come from. 
  • Reply 20 of 23
    JapheyJaphey Posts: 1,373member
    gatorguy said:
    Japhey said:
    macgui said:
    I'm a n00b vis a vis AR and VR.  What I want is to run through the jungles of the Amazon Rain forest, zip across the planes of the Serengeti, fly over hill and dale, orbit the Moon or Saturn, sit beside Juan Manuel Fangio, Jackie Stewart, Louis Hamilton and not feel like I'm in a GTA game, and watch Top Gun in full screen glory.

    I've seen the Apple AR demos and that doesn't interest me at all. I say that not having Apple Glasses. That could change my mind. The Quest 2 interested me but I was put off by the Facebook requirement.

    Something beyond video game graphics and the ability to watch a big screen movie without a big screen. C'mon, Tim. You can do it!
    All those experiences you listed sound awesome. That’s exactly what I’m hoping Apple can deliver. Personally, I’d love to tour the Vatican or the pyramids. Gaming is pretty far down the list for me. 
    Gaming is where the money will come from. 
    Agreed. I never said it wouldn’t, only that’s It’s not my primary interest in XR. 
    edited May 20 watto_cobra
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