Rumors about Apple’s first AR/VR headset have been swirling for some time. Cupertino’s first mixed reality device is set to release this year. Mark Gurman now has abandoned a boatload of information on Bloomberg regarding the features, software ecosystem and other capabilities of the mixed reality headset also called “Reality Pro” by some.
For starters, Apple Reality Pro could have both AR and VR fashions. Users will be able to switch between the two on the fly using controls on the headset. Similar to Microsoft Hololensthem AR The mode on Apple Reality Pro will overlay virtual objects onto a real-world scene while VR mode works by completely cutting out the outside world for a virtual world.
Driving the helmet is the alleged xrOS which, according to Bloomberg, has an iOS-compliant interface and iPadOS. So, you can expect a standard grid of app icons on the home screen. Similarly, Apple is also said to have transferred many features from the iPhone and iPad to its mixed reality device. Apps like Safari, Apple Music, Podcasts, etc. will be appearing on Reality Pro. Users might also be able to get third-party apps from a separate app store.
Moreover, Apple Reality Pro also apparently works as a secondary/external display for Macs, with users able to control the machine via keyboard/mouse. Speaking of controls, Bloomberg suggests the headset won’t require a separate controller, as inputs are either handled by hand gestures or by a connected device like an iPhone/Mac. Voice input via Siri would also be supported.
Without a hardware controller, the Apple Reality Pro headset would use cameras to track eye and hand movements. This motion tracking allows users to simply select an item on the screen by focusing on it and interact with it using hand gestures. The lack of a hardware controller has the potential to make UI interactions clunky, but if Apple can pull that off, it could prove to be a major selling point for the headset.
The hardware information is rounded out by the purported inclusion of external power supplies, an option for corrective lenses, and built-in speakers, though Apple may recommend AirPods for the best listening experience. Additionally, the report claims up to 2 hours of battery life, similar in size to two iPhone 14 Pro Max devices placed on top of each other.
Moving on to Apple’s content plans for Reality Pro, Bloomberg argues that the company is working with media giants like Disney and porting Apple TV+ shows to the AR device in a bid to allow users to view media on large virtual screens. Many video calling features are also likely in development, as Reality Pro is expected to display avatars for one-on-one FaceTime chats. Interactive environments will have full body/face reconstruction in the virtual realm.
Finally, Apple would offer the public a hands-on headset in Apple Stores once the Reality Pro becomes available this year. The exact price remains unknown, but Bloomberg suggests a rate close to US$3,000.