Bloomberg details alleged Apple plans for AR and VR headsets

Glasses on iPhone 11 Pro
Glasses on iPhone 11 Pro (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Bloomberg has published an extensive report in Apple's plans for AR and Glasses.
  • Mark Gurman says Apple is working on two different devices.
  • One is an AR headset that could be announced next year, the other is a pair of lightweight glasses coming 2023 at the earliest.

Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has published an in-depth report regarding the alleged details of Apple's roadmap for its AR and VR products.

In a new report, Gurman says Apple has been working on two products for some time:

He started building his team in late 2015, and what grew into a 1,000-strong group of engineers went to work developing two products aimed at upending the VR and AR segments. A device code-named N301 would take the best of both VR and AR—the first an all-encompassing digital experience for gaming and consuming content, and the second a tool for overlaying information such as text messages and maps in front of a viewer. The other device, N421, a lightweight pair of glasses using AR only, is more complex.

Gurman says that the former device (N301) is less technologically ambitious than it was originally meant to be due to a standoff between the development team and apple's former design chief Jony Ive:

As for the impasse between Rockwell and Ive, Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook ultimately sided with the design chief. Although the headset now in development is less technologically ambitious than originally intended, it's pretty advanced. It's designed to feature ultra-high-resolution screens that will make it almost impossible for a user to differentiate the virtual world from the real one. A cinematic speaker system will make the experience even more realistic, people who have used prototypes say. (The technology in the hub didn't go entirely to waste: Some is being recycled to build the powerful processors Apple plans to announce next week for its Macs, replacing components made by Intel Corp.)

N301 reportedly looks like a smaller Oculus Quest and will have its own App Store focused on gaming, Siri support, and more.

Gurman also briefly mentions that Apple's AR glasses will be released "by 2023 at the earliest." This is of course in direct contrast to rumors from Jon Prosser who has suggested that Apple could announce Apple Glass as early as later this year, with a public release next year in Q4, or Q1 2022. There's been plenty of Twitter back-and-forth regarding the veracity of these reports. Regardless, we definitely know Apple is working on an AR/VR project, as well as a lightweight set of glasses. Who knows when we'll get to see either.

You can read the full story from Bloomberg here.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9