Samsung GearSource: Samsung

What you need to know

  • Apple almost released a cheap VR headset for the iPhone a few years ago.
  • A new report says the company was looking to develop a device to rival Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear VR for release in 2019.
  • The project was scrapped because of technical issues including problems with head tracking.

A new report has revealed that Apple tried to make a cheap VR headset for iPhone to rival Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear VR, before eventually scrapping the project.

A new report Tuesday from The Information into the troubled development of Apple VR claims that the company started developing "a device similar to Google Cardboard or Samsung Gear VR" way back in 2017. The report says the device would have been "a cheap headset" that let people experience VR by using their iPhone as a stereoscopic display "for basic AR and VR experiences."

According to the report, the device was meant to debut after the iPhone 11, which came out in 2019 and was one of the company's best iPhones in recent memory.

Sadly, the report says that the team "struggled with technical issues, including poor tracking of head movements" which were vital to making people " feel comfortably immersed in digital environments." The report says that Apple ultimately ditched the project, but that some code pertaining to its existence was leaked in 2019.

The Information's report also revealed that Apple's main VR project was supposed to come out in 2019, and that the very earliest prototypes ran Windows. According to the report, Apple could include an external screen on its VR headset when it eventually does release so as to show people your facial expressions.

It is reported that Apple's VR headset could actually be released next year, with an announcement possible before the end of 2022, likely after Apple unveils the iPhone 14 which is expected in September.