Rumors abound that Apple could enter the world of AR and VR in the coming years. We know, for instance, there are rumors Apple could release a pair of lightweight glasses for consumers in the future. In the meantime, however, we could very well get our own Apple VR headset for entertainment, gaming, and communication.
According to reports, Apple's VR headset could debut as early as 2022. From recent reports:
According to the report, Gurman said Apple "has planned to launch the product" as early as 2022. The headset is apparently in the late prototype stage and hasn't been finalized, meaning it could still be scrapped by Apple.
Reports from the China Times have also back up this report, suggesting an Apple VR headset is not that far away.
AR, VR, or both?
The reports seem to suggest Apple's headset will primarily be a VR headset for gaming and entertainment (think Oculus Rift/Quest), but that it will also have some AR applications support by features like LiDAR. According to reports:
JPMorgan Chase Securities Technology Industry Analyst Yang Weilun pointed out that Apple may release headset products equipped with Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) in the first quarter of 2022. Most of the components will be fourth in 2021. Shipments started in the first quarter, and seven major Taiwanese manufacturers including TSMC and Largan have entered the head-mounted device supply chain.
The below drawing is an artist's impression of photos seen by The Information of Apple's AR headset, sporting a fairly regular VR 'goggles' section described as a "sleek, curved visor", and a mesh, interchangeable headband.
Whilst Apple's VR headset was once thought to be a companion device that would use a hub for much of its processing power, it is now understood Apple VR could be a standalone headset that doesn't require any external processing.
Apple's headset is tipped to be a "pricey" and "niche" competitor to established VR headsets. In early 2021, a huge story from The Information claimed that Apple's VR headset would have two 8K displays for high-fidelity visuals. It will also reportedly come with eye and hand-tracking technology for full immersion.
The Apple VR headset could run on Apple's new Apple silicon chips, recently debuted in its new Mac lineup. According to Bloomberg:
Apple is aiming to include some of its most advanced and powerful chips in the headset along with displays that are much higher-resolution than those in existing VR products. Some of the chips tested in the device beat the performance of Apple's M1 Mac processors. The company has also designed the headset with a fan, something the company usually tries to avoid on mobile products, the people said.
Brace yourself. The Information reports Apple's VR headset could cost a whopping $3,000. It was previously reported it would be an expensive product that would cost much more than current competitors, priced between $300-$900. According to JP Morgan, Apple VR could cost more to make than the iPhone 12. All signs point to Apple VR costing an absolute bomb.