An Apple VR headset is on the way, says Bloomberg in an exclusive report.
The news outlet talks about an Apple virtual reality helmet for launch in 2022 to compete with models such as Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.
For years we have been talking about Apple’s entry into this type of market. Investments have been substantial, accumulating talent and technology, the most important being the purchase of PrimeSense, the firm that developed the sensor technology for the Microsoft Kinect. Also other startups dedicated to AR such as Vrvana, Metaio and Flyby Media. Another interesting detail was ARKit, one of the most interesting new features in the launch of iOS 11 and more recently we saw the purchase of Akonia Holographics.
While it was expected that the first product to arrive would be augmented reality glasses, Bloomberg says that it will eventually be a virtual reality headset that is larger and more powerful than glasses, although it will also include some AR features, which would allow it to overlay images on top of the real world. The report says this aspect will be “limited” and the focus will be on virtual reality.
Codenamed N301, the Apple VR is described as an immersive, multi-purpose device for gaming, video and communications. It would be the size of an Oculus Quest, be completely wireless and offer a display with resolution up to 8K. It would be governed by a proprietary operating system called “rOS”.
In terms of performance, the prototypes they are currently testing include a processor that outperforms the Apple M1 and would also be used in 2021 Mac computers. It is expected to be quite expensive (around $1,000) and the first release is aimed at a very specific niche of enthusiast users and developers. As for the AR glasses, codenamed N421, they are still in development, but are still “several years away”.
Of course none of these devices are guaranteed to reach the market. The Bloomberg report states that there is still a possibility that Apple could scrap both projects altogether. It would be strange after Apple’s huge investment, but it is certain that the VR/AR “revolution” that the industry promised has been a failure. In the consumer market it has not taken off, revenues are residual and some like Google have shelved platforms with great theoretical potential such as Daydream VR.
Only HTC and Oculus seem capable of sustaining VR in the consumer market and in any case with limited sales. Hence the importance of an Apple VR. We will have to wait. There is no confirmation of Bloomberg’s information.