We’ve been hearing about an Apple headset (or Apple glasses) for a full decade now, and still have nothing to show for it. But with Microsoft and Meta now firmly embroiled in the mixed reality space, there’s mounting pressure for Apple to get involved sooner rather than later – if it intends to compete at all, that is.
We’re seeing an increase in reports and rumors suggesting that Apple really is gearing up to launch some kind of headset this year, and Mark Gurman of Bloomberg believes the device is likely to release later in 2023 under the name “Apple Reality Pro,” for an eye-watering initial price of around $3000. If successful, we can expect a non-pro version to hit the shelves for maybe half that in 2024 or 2025.
So what do we know about this supposed Apple Reality Pro? According to the report, it’s set to be a ‘mixed reality’ headset that features advanced eye and hand tracking technology. This technology allows users to interact with virtual objects and environments in a natural and intuitive way. The headset is also said to feature a 3D iOS-like interface, allowing users to use apps from the App Store in a virtual environment.
One of the main draws of the Reality Pro is said to be its advanced eye tracking technology, which allows the headset to track and respond to the user’s gaze in real-time. This allows users to easily and intuitively select and interact with virtual objects just by looking at them, without the need for additional controllers or input devices. The headset is also set to feature hand tracking technology, which allows users to interact with the operating system using natural hand gestures and movements – again, with no need for additional controllers.
He also expects Apple to make switching between virtual and augmented realities simple, with a digital crown similar to the one found on Apple Watch acting as a switch between real and constructed environments. In addition to the iOS-like interface, Bloomberg says Reality Pro will also be able to display immersive video content, and even mirror a Mac display.
Meta has tried – with limited success – to get people to conduct remote conferences in its cartoonish, uncanny valley virtual world. Apple is expected to go in a different direction, offering an extension of FaceTime that puts realistic versions of its users into a 3D conference space, as opposed to simplified avatars. (Though we’d be surprised if Memoji didn’t make an appearance somewhere).
Overall, the Apple Reality Pro is an exciting prospect that could offer a new level of immersion and interactivity in both virtual and augmented reality. Watch this space.