Apple's AR headset probably won't need an iPhone to function

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware
Apple's highly anticipated mixed-reality headset may not require an iPhone to work, with the first release in the lineup likely to be able to work independently of any other Apple device.

A render of a potential Apple headset [AppleInsider]
A render of a potential Apple headset [AppleInsider]


Apple is thought to be preparing its initial ar headset is expected to finally surface in 2023, potentially during or before WWDC 2023. The first headset in Apple's product line that could appear at that time may be more of a standalone device than previously thought, with it apparently able to work without the user necessarily having an iPhone or iPad beforehand.

According to Mark Gurman's "Power On" newsletter for Bloomberg, the headset "probably won't require" an iPhone for setup, nor for actual use. Sources say the latest versions of the headset being tested apparently can be set up without needing an iPhone, with the headset able to download a user's content and iCloud data directly for itself.

While able to work independently of other hardware, users will still be able to transfer data to the headset from their iPhone or iPad, in a similar way to how new devices can be set up.

The idea of it being independent hardware is highly plausible, since Meta's Quest 2 is already designed to be used separately from other hardware, though you can still interact with it via a companion app.

Interacting with the headset is via eye and hand tracking, including in-air typing, but this has apparently been "finicky in testing." While users may have to rely on an iPhone's keyboard for text entry, it is expected that software updates will be deployed to provide rapid improvements after launch.

In a refinement to earlier reporting, Gurman now thinks that a WWDC launch for the headset, apparently called Reality Pro, will occur. Shipments would take place by the end of 2023, in theory.

Beyond the first headset, Gurman writes that Apple is already planning follow-up models, including a cheaper version due at the end of 2024 or into 2025. Using a lower-end display and processor, the headset tentatively titled Reality One will be much cheaper than the initial $3,000 model.

A second-generation Reality Pro is apparently on the way, which may offer considerably more performance than the M2-equipped first-gen model. An apparent complaint is that the M2-based model isn't powerful enough to support more than two realistic VR representations of participants at a time.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 19
    Why is it so hard for authors to get AR vs VR correct?  All the rumors about an imminent new Apple device have been for a VR or MR/VR product, not an AR device.  Heck, even the stock photo used for this article shows goggles with opaque front - something you could not have with AR glasses/goggles.
    watto_cobraAlex1NdewmeFooBar55
  • Reply 2 of 19
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 15,357moderator
    twolf2919 said:
    Why is it so hard for authors to get AR vs VR correct?  All the rumors about an imminent new Apple device have been for a VR or MR/VR product, not an AR device.  Heck, even the stock photo used for this article shows goggles with opaque front - something you could not have with AR glasses/goggles.
    There's passthrough AR that uses front-facing cameras, which captures real-time stereo video at a high FPS and merges digital content into the feed. This is how AR currently works on iPhone/iPad. This can give better quality AR because it allows better matching between the digital and real images and fully opaque digital content.

    The downside is that you are always looking at a display which can cause eye fatigue more easily than looking at natural light and the real video feed doesn't look as natural as looking through lenses.

    Here's passthrough AR on Meta/Oculus Quest VR headset:

    https://www.youtube.com/shorts/jUIE2l_9ig8
    edited February 2023 watto_cobrabyronlAlex1Nbluefire1
  • Reply 3 of 19
    h2ph2p Posts: 331member
    “…the initial $3,000 model” isn’t priced for consumers, obviously. This could be Apple‘s way of skimming the cream off the top of people that are so interested and so excited about the mixed reality headset that they’ll pay that kind of a price. One other little tidbit is that this could be like the original iPad… Said to be priced at $2000 (by the PC press) and it was released at $499. It was a big hit immediately. 

    If the “lower priced“ headset is at $1000, then this too will be an immediate hit. That would be essentially the price of the iPhone 14 Pro so I’ve got a little bit of wishful thinking going on there.
    lolliverwilliamhwatto_cobrabyronl
  • Reply 4 of 19
    Seriously don’t the $3,000 rumors. Apple is a mass market CE company, not a niche market company. Yeah yeah the gold Watch is an outlier, but I think that was a sacrifice to Ives who wanted to work on something novel and had a silver (gold) lining of generating buzz.
    lollivermuthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobrabyronlh2pAlex1N
  • Reply 5 of 19
    Well, yeah.  It's not like a watch where there is no room for the electronics.
    watto_cobrabyronl
  • Reply 6 of 19
    JP234 said:
    That's a good thing, folks! How you gonna operate an iPhone with that thing covering your eyes?
    You wouldn't be operating the phone. The phone would be used by the goggles for processing power. But it looks like they can put all of the processing power they need right in the goggles themselves. When the Oculus Rift first came out, it had to be connected to a very powerful computer in order for it to work. Things have progressed a long way since then.
    lolliverwatto_cobrabyronlAlex1N
  • Reply 7 of 19
    danoxdanox Posts: 2,971member
    If this device is actually any good at the 1000 or even 3000 price tag, the cries of it costing too much will be there no matter what, and if it really does work exceptionally well, there will be many people crying that they’re not allowed to take part in using it because of the cost, and the EU will cry monopoly/gatekeeper again. And insist that Apple must allow the (rabble) self entitled rich developers, into the new ecosystem, because it would not be fair to them.
    edited February 2023 watto_cobrah2p
  • Reply 8 of 19
    macguimacgui Posts: 2,369member
    twolf2919 said:
    Why is it so hard for authors to get AR vs VR correct?  All the rumors about an imminent new Apple device have been for a VR or MR/VR product, not an AR device.
    Looking back it seems to me that everything sourced and demonstrated by Apple was AR and not VR. To that end an article talking about what Apple might be bringing should be focused on AR.

    That said AR at this time is of little interest to me. I was thinking of getting a Quest set but the idea of having to be connected to a PC and have a FB account turned me away and I haven't kept up since. Much of the VR content seems to be game stuff and that doesn't interest me much. Let me fly with the Blue Angels or walk among Emperor penguins with David Attenborough. Or dive the Barrier Reef. But being Iron Man's wingman would be cool too.
    byronlh2p
  • Reply 9 of 19
    Among the major platforms, iOS has the lowest amount of malware outright: when weighted against the number of users this figure becomes even more impressive. Android unsurprisingly has the most malware due to an array of factors, not limited to repeating the biggest mistakes from the PCs.

    The key to iOS's lack of malware is Apple locking down the app installation pathway and limiting the web browser engine: the two main malware entry points on PCs: however competitors have successfully lobbied governments to force apple into unwinding both of these platform protections for the sake of getting a larger cut of revenue/more market dominance. Thus I would not be surprised one bit if Apple significantly change the app-model used in the new device, and there is some evidence of this in rumors which paint an on-device app development process that ordinary users can do. After all why should Apple provide a space for companies like Facebook/Google to place ads directly in our line of vision, while making bank with our personal data.

    The apple watch also demonstrates that we don't need every type of app available for a device to be meaningfully useful - many users don't even use 3rd party apps, likely because not every device we own should aim to be a replacement of the personal computer - a new form of interface allows us to improve other aspects of our lives.
    danoxAlex1N
  • Reply 10 of 19
    Wonder if the two “compute modules” discovered in iOS relate to this device?

    would explain the rumors and n two different prices. 

    No one really wants this as an iPhone accessory if it’s supposed to be the next big thing. 
    Alex1N
  • Reply 11 of 19
    Anything that is NOT Facebook will be welcomed
    Alex1N
  • Reply 12 of 19
    dewmedewme Posts: 5,422member
    It may not need an iPhone to operate, but it will require a human to purchase it. In my mind, that will still be the biggest impediment to its success - unless Apple has a really big bag full of tricks up its sleeve.

    C'mon Apple, still waiting ...
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 13 of 19
    h2p said:
    “…the initial $3,000 model” isn’t priced for consumers, obviously. This could be Apple‘s way of skimming the cream off the top of people that are so interested and so excited about the mixed reality headset that they’ll pay that kind of a price. One other little tidbit is that this could be like the original iPad… Said to be priced at $2000 (by the PC press) and it was released at $499. It was a big hit immediately. 

    If the “lower priced“ headset is at $1000, then this too will be an immediate hit. That would be essentially the price of the iPhone 14 Pro so I’ve got a little bit of wishful thinking going on there.
    The original Macintosh was $2495, which also put it out of range for many consumers.
    edited February 2023 FooBar55
  • Reply 14 of 19
    eriamjheriamjh Posts: 1,661member
    I don’t play games so I’m trying to figure out why I would want Apple AR.   

    What will they actually be used for?   What will be the killer app?   
  • Reply 15 of 19
    bluefire1 said:
    h2p said:
    “…the initial $3,000 model” isn’t priced for consumers, obviously. This could be Apple‘s way of skimming the cream off the top of people that are so interested and so excited about the mixed reality headset that they’ll pay that kind of a price. One other little tidbit is that this could be like the original iPad… Said to be priced at $2000 (by the PC press) and it was released at $499. It was a big hit immediately. 

    If the “lower priced“ headset is at $1000, then this too will be an immediate hit. That would be essentially the price of the iPhone 14 Pro so I’ve got a little bit of wishful thinking going on there.
    The original Macintosh was $2495, which also put it out of range for many consumers.
    LOL - I bought my Mac SE in for $2,000 with student discount in 1989, I think that price included the cost of extended keyboard. Printer was another $250 or so. It was the first Mac with option to have a hard drive - mine was 20mb HD, 1mb RAM. For reference, my Apple Watch 5 has 32gb storage (SSD I assume?), 1gb DRAM. In today's dollars, that Mac would've cost over $4800. 

    My SE got me through all of my undergrad + almost 2 years. I actually had a case for it - wish I hadn't tossed it, it'd be worth something now. Had to replace it when the HD died. My freshman year, probably 25% of my peers had their own computer. By my senior year ('93), maybe half? I don't think my roommates had one.

    To clarify - I would not spend $1k on a computer today. I have a 2020 MBA, 2022 iPad, iPhone X. I'm cheap.
    h2p
  • Reply 16 of 19
    eriamjh said:
    I don’t play games so I’m trying to figure out why I would want Apple AR.   

    What will they actually be used for?   What will be the killer app?   
    AR, I have zero idea. I've never used AR for anything, really. VR - gaming is the only thing that would be worth it. I have a PS VR (original) and love it, but there aren't a lot of games that use it, and it requires a PS4 or 5 to use.

    As far as the tech, that's another story. Huge military use of the core tech of AR & VR in heads up displays and other things I doubt we will ever know of.
  • Reply 17 of 19
    twolf2919 said:
    Why is it so hard for authors to get AR vs VR correct?  All the rumors about an imminent new Apple device have been for a VR or MR/VR product, not an AR device.  Heck, even the stock photo used for this article shows goggles with opaque front - something you could not have with AR glasses/goggles.
    Funny too since AI has that it's AR & VR on another article (https://appleinsider.com/inside/apple-vr). I think they're seeing that you could do mixed - like control the level of external/real world that you see. The Apple glass tech, beyond military use, is rumored to be used for people with vision problems like macular degeneration. 

    For me, it would be VR gaming. I don't see any use for AR unless it could help with my poor vision. If they price it right and there are apps, I'd pay. The new PSVR 2 requires a PS5 and is around $500. Hard to stomach despite design superiority when Oculus has more games and is cheaper. I have a PSVR original using a PS4 and it's great, but there aren't a lot of good games for it. I doubt though that Apple these days would introduce something they think there's no market for, so who knows?
  • Reply 18 of 19
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 15,357moderator
    eriamjh said:
    I don’t play games so I’m trying to figure out why I would want Apple AR.   

    What will they actually be used for?   What will be the killer app?   
    Virtual displays. Movies and productivity, all in 3D.

    Buy a 14" MBP, put on the glasses and get a 100" virtual OLED 3D display. This is already available on VR headsets but they are too bulky and designed for gaming:


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