Apple could soon announce its long-rumored Reality Pro VR/AR headset. Recently, we've heard some exciting details about the new headset that mostly centered on what it could look like. And yet, we have heard very little about which apps will work with the wearable device, especially on day one.
With this in mind, here are a few ideas on what five of Apple's official apps could look like on the company's most important new product since the Apple Watch launched in 2015 if it gets confirmed.
Out of the gate, Reality Pro, the rumored name for the headset, is going to have to impress gamers. This starts with Apple Arcade, which is currently available on the best iPhones, iPads, and Apple TV.
Rather than simply moving existing games to xrOS, the rumored operating system for the headset, Apple needs to offer some virtual exclusives, which should extend to non-Apple Arcade games. It's the quickest way to differentiate Reality Pro from competitive products.
Beyond this, it will be about presentation and how the Reality Pro incorporates Apple Arcade into the xrOS interface. I expect we'll be blown away.
Undoubtedly, the Reality Pro headset will be packed full of health and fitness features. The Meta Quest 2 already offers countless titles, and no doubt many of these will jump over to xrOS. However, the most important of these is likely to be Apple's Fitness app.
Already available on iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV, the native app is where you can find Apple Fitness Plus and its growing library of video and audio workouts. With the Reality Pro headset, I'd expect Apple's fitness offers to go outside — at least virtually. Imagine, for example, training for a 5K run using the headset by going up and down virtual hills. There's probably also going to be a meditation section that could take users to faraway places from the living room.
The Apple Health app could soon make a splash on the Reality Pro headset. Imagine, for example, seeing your step or weight history on a digital plane as you walk around virtually. In another scenario, perhaps Apple makes it a reality that you can go inside a virtual heart to see how your real heart pumped throughout your last workout.
Let's take this a few steps further. Given the Reality Pro headset is expected to launch at around $3,000, it makes sense that Apple is already working with healthcare providers to bring the devices into medical settings. In these locations, for example, doctors could someday use the headset to show patients the inside of their bodies to show trouble spots in an immersive environment. In another, a patient could be shown what will happen to their body if they don't get a better shape.
The possible uses go on and on.
Apple TV Plus
Life isn't all about health and fitness, of course. That's why the Reality Pro headset is likely to be connected to Apple TV Plus from the start. Thanks to SharePlay, watching your favorite TV show or movie in a virtual setting with your family and friends should work seamlessly — even with those who don't have a headset.
Differently, Cupertino could build virtual reality extras into the Apple TV app to give it an immersive feel. Imagine walking into Lumon Industries and riding the elevator into all things Severance or kicking a ball on the set of Ted Lasso. There's no limit to where the Apple TV app could take you with the Reality Pro headset; perhaps a trip to Mars on For All Mankind's Helios is in your future for a vacation.
What will be interesting to see is whether Apple allows other entertainment providers to use the same tools given to Apple TV. I would guess Apple eventually will, although perhaps not in the short term.
Regardless, there needs to be a prominent entertainment feature that connects the reality headset to Apple TV that no one else has tried before. Otherwise, Apple will be accused of playing copycat.
Going back to the original iTunes and iPod, Apple has been a significant force in music. The Reality Pro launch allows the company to reinforce these bonafide. It won't be easy, however.
Listening to Apple Music is a highly personal experience, typically involving headphones or earbuds. By contrast, going to concerts is a group event where different personalities get together to celebrate their love for an individual artist or band. For Apple Music to succeed on the Reality Pro, I would expect Apple to take both experiences and merge them in a fun new way.
On the one hand, Apple should make it easy for you to access the music library when using the headset. Artist pages, Apple Music 1 integration, and a fresh take on the Listen Now section are three critical areas that should be addressed.
Apple Music on the Reality Pro should also have an immersive concert component where you can join other users to experience some of the world's most historic concerts from various angles —for example, the Fleetwood Mac On With the Show Tour, Taylor Swift's 1989 Tour, or even Johnny Cash at San Quentin Prison. And then there are Apple-sponsored concerts, new and old, that would look fantastic virtually.
There's a lot riding on Apple's Reality Pro headset; hopefully, we'll see it soon. In the meantime, it's a fun time imagining what the rumored headset could mean to the company's existing apps, such as Arcade, Health, Fitness, TV, and Music.
It should be an exciting time if it gets announced soon - so stay tuned.
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Bryan M. Wolfe has written about technology for over a decade on various websites, including TechRadar, AppAdvice, and many more. Before this, he worked in the technology field across different industries, including healthcare and education. He’s currently iMore’s lead on all things Mac and macOS, although he also loves covering iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Bryan enjoys watching his favorite sports teams, traveling, and driving around his teenage daughter to her latest stage show, audition, or school event in his spare time. He also keeps busy walking his black and white cocker spaniel, Izzy, and trying new coffees and liquid grapes.