Apple is likely to unveil its long-awaited mixed-reality headset soon. Apple’s first new product category since 2015’s Apple Watch has been developing for years. Rumors have revealed several device details. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman has released more facts regarding the headset, which may be dubbed Reality Pro.
It’s a standalone device that can pin widgets to the home screen like iPhone and iPad. It can also display a connected Mac. According to the source, “xrOS” will allow text entry using Mac, iPhone, or iPad keyboards and Siri voice commands. Apple may enable users to type in midair like in sci-fi movies, but it may not be available when the headset launches.
Health tracking and app installation are expected. Apple TV+ support for VR video is a focus. Apple has reportedly discussed VR content with Disney, Dolby, and other media partners. Users can watch videos on virtual screens in space or deserts. To completely immerse, users may need AirPods or other spatial audio headphones. Gaming may be vital to the device.
Apple’s way of tracking your hands and eyes could be the best thing about the headset. People think the device will have sensors that can track the wearer’s eyes and several external cameras that can track their hands. The report says that the idea is for users to be able to choose something (like an app icon or button) by looking at it and then squeezing their thumb and index finger together. If this method works as planned, people wouldn’t need hand controllers, usually for other headsets. On the front of the headset, a screen may show the person’s eyes, which may be scary for some.
The device is expected to work with virtual and augmented reality, with a digital crown like the one on the Apple Watch to switch between the two. The latest headset from Meta, the Quest Pro, lets you use AR in full color, and it’s likely that Apple will do the same.
Apple might be thinking about people who need prescription glasses. Many people who wear glasses need help using VR and AR headsets. But it’s said that Apple will sell custom lenses that fit inside the headset’s case. This could make it easier to wear.
One exciting thing about the headset that hasn’t been discussed before is how it will work with FaceTime calls between two people. People used to think that the other people on a call would appear as an icon or Memoji. This is still true for group calls. The report says that when both people in a one-on-one chat wear a Reality Pro, FaceTime will show realistic versions of their faces and bodies. This feature might not be available for group calls because of how they are processed. Other companies, like Meta, tend to draw people in a more cartoony way (and don’t yet draw legs).
As the headset hasn’t been released, these features could still change. Reality Pro, on the other hand, is thought to be run by an M2 chipset. The graphics and mixed-reality experiences will be taken care of by a second chip called the “Reality Processor.”
Most headsets have plastic bodies, but Apple is thought to make Reality Pro out of aluminum, glass, and cushions that look like those on the AirPods Max headphones. But it’s not likely that the battery will be built into the device. Gurman says the battery will be in a separate pack connected to the headset with a cable and carried in the user’s pocket. This and a fan could help keep the headset from getting too hot, but it could cause the weight to be uneven. It is said that the battery will last for about two hours.
Apple could show off the device this spring, before this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference in June, and release it this fall. Reality Pro could attract many people, but the price may turn them away. People have known for a long time that the headset will cost around $3,000. That is twice what the Quest Pro costs.