There have been several reports regarding virtual reality headsets, augmented reality headsets, and augmented reality glasses, so what does Apple have planned for its augmented reality future?
Apple’s slew of speculations, leaks, acquisitions, and new personnel hint that it might be a hybrid of all three, with a release date in the future.
Apple’s augmented and virtual reality development team allegedly numbers over 1,000 personnel devoted to incorporating developing technology into genuine products.
This is supported by Apple’s recent hiring of specialists in AR/VR technology and content and its acquisition of a handful of startups specializing in either AR/VR technology or content geared to those platforms.
It makes sense in some ways – Apple has consistently stated that augmented reality is an exciting technology.
It effectively already has the largest AR app offering globally via ARKit-integrated apps on the App Store, so it wouldn’t be a huge leap to move AR-focused apps to a headset platform that would provide a more immersive, enjoyable experience than holding a smartphone in front of you.
According to reports, the corporation is developing numerous headgear prototypes focused on not only an augmented reality but also virtual reality.
Apple’s ultimate goal is to be a full-fledged set of augmented reality glasses, provisionally nicknamed Apple Glass by leaker Jon Prosser. However, the technology may still be in its infancy and a few years away from commercialization.
We cover the newest Apple AR Glasses news separately for those interested in the impending smart glasses.
According to multiple reports, the answer might be an augmented reality/virtual reality hybrid headgear akin to the Oculus Quest 2, scheduled for release in the future.
All you need to know about Apple’s upcoming entry into augmented and virtual reality headsets, including the latest leaks and possible release date.
When will the Apple AR/VR headset be released?
Bloomberg reports that Apple’s debut AR/VR headset would be a “pricey, niche” alternative. Apple expects to sell only 180,000 copies (similar to the Mac Pro) when it launches in 2022 – a timeline backed up by a rival claim from The Information.
Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has also backed up the 2022 release date, claiming to have seen order details for Yujingguang – a Taiwanese lens manufacturer – to supply high-quality virtual reality lenses to Apple, Facebook, and Sony, with all three manufacturers expected to launch headsets in 2022.
While some anticipated Apple’s March 2022 event’s ‘Peek Performance’ slogan hinted at its augmented reality intentions, that was not the case; instead, the presentation focused on improvements to the iPhone SE and iPad Air and a brand-new Mac Studio.
Kuo had forecasted a late Q4 2022 delivery date for the forthcoming headgear – a date he confirmed in January 2022. This takes it beyond the iPhone 14’s early Q4 introduction, implying a December launch similar to the (equally narrow) AirPods Max.
However, Kuo estimates that headset inventory would be constrained until early 2023, when “major shipments” of the headset begin to appear.
This is consistent with a February 2022 story from DigiTimes, which indicated that Apple’s forthcoming headgear had successfully finished manufacturing testing and would enter mass production “in August-September before hitting the market by the end of the year.”
Bloomberg’s most recent report indicates that we may have to wait longer.
While Apple had intended to unveil the headgear at this year’s WWDC, “development issues relating to overheating, cameras, and software have made it more difficult to stay on schedule.”
According to the magazine, these concerns contributed to Apple delaying the unveiling until the end of 2022, or maybe even early 2023.
How much will the Apple AR/VR headset cost?
Bloomberg reports that the headgear is projected to be significantly more costly than current standalone VR headsets, which vary in price from £299/$299 for the Oculus Quest 2 to £905/$799 for the enterprise-focused HTC Vive Focus Plus. Still, the outlet did not specify pricing.
According to JPMorgan Chase industry expert Yang Weilun, it might be substantially more expensive, costing Apple roughly $500 for each device to construct. At the same time, The Information’s massive story indicates it could be as high as $3,000.
With The Information claiming that Apple will abandon the consumer market in favor of enterprise, the pricing makes sense – after all, the competitive Microsoft HoloLens retails for roughly $3500.
DSCC also expects the headset will be a luxury product, predicting that “the Apple headgear will cost several thousand dollars” in early 2022, implying that it would be primarily targeted at “professionals and developers looking to grow Apple’s ecosystem in augmented and virtual reality.”
However, Ming-Chi Kuo’s contradictory claim asserts that while it will be premium, it will not be that premium. Rather than that, Kuo predicts that it will be comparable to the price of a “high-end iPhone,” which retails for roughly $1000 in the United States.
With leaks and reports revealing high-end specifications, a premium price tag is unsurprising.
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What to expect from Apple’s AR/VR headset
Apple’s first dedicated headgear would focus on both augmented and virtual reality, according to a Bloomberg story from early 2021.
The information appears to have originated from an Apple source during a 2020 internal employee conference during which executives discussed intriguing new capabilities slated to launch with the headgear, including 3D scanning and enhanced human identification to help in augmented and virtual reality performance.