It seems that Apple is seriously interested in virtual reality technology. According to Bloomberg, the company is currently working on its own version of VR helmets. The first headset will be an expensive niche product, but it will be released next year.
What is already known about the Apple device:
- The headset will mainly work with virtual reality, but it will also receive limited support for AR functions.;
- according to Bloomberg, the helmet is already at a late stage of production and will go on sale no later than 2022;
- it will be a niche headset with a fairly high price tag. How high is unknown. But as Bloomberg notes, the cost of Apple’s VR headset will be “much higher” than that of competitors. This is despite the fact that those helmets are sold at a price of $ 300-$900;
- Some insiders believe that Apple will be able to sell just one helmet in one retail store per day. Considering that the company has about 500 stores, only 180 thousand devices will be sold in them in a year;
- The VR helmet will be equipped with some of the most powerful Apple processors. It is assumed that some of them will surpass M1 processors in performance — these chips are in the latest line of macbooks;
- the helmet will also receive displays whose resolution is “noticeably higher than that of existing VR products,” and a cooler;
- powerful processors and a cooler have created a lot of problems for the company. Because of them, the prototype device turned out to be so heavy that it could even damage the user’s neck. To cope with this, Apple had to sacrifice the free space that is usually left in VR headsets for people wearing glasses. As a result, her helmet became closer to her face. For users with poor eyesight, Apple has developed a system that allows you to embed prescription lenses into the headset;
- another solution to the problem with the large weight of the VR helmet was the replacement of the metal body with a fabric one;
- Initially, Apple planned to use less powerful processors and shift most of the work to an additional hub that would transmit content to the headset wirelessly. But Jony Ive, who worked at that time as the head of Apple’s design department, convinced the company to make the helmet autonomous;
- some prototypes of the headset have external cameras installed, which should help with AR functions. For example, print text in the air. But it is still unclear whether the finished device will keep these cameras or they will appear in subsequent models.;
- This VR helmet is designed to prepare the audience for the subsequent release of more advanced and affordable AR glasses. Their development is at an early “architectural” stage. According to Bloomberg, the glasses will be on sale only in a few years.
Rumors that Apple is preparing to launch its own VR and AR products have been appearing for years. Nevertheless, every year the company pays more and more attention to technologies related to virtual and augmented reality. For example, the company’s high interest in the sphere is indicated by its acquisition of a content provider for NextVR VR headsets in May 2020.