- Apple is considering multiple release dates for its headset
- The headset could be called "Reality Pro" or "XR Pro"
- Mac-based simulator will be provided for apps development
- Users will highlight and select items in software via eyes and hands gestures
Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman has released a new report detailing his expectations for new announcements Apple is planning to reveal next Monday at WWDC 2023. The report includes many details surrounding Apple’s mixed-reality headset including its brand name, market launch date, specs, and more.
Apple’s headset is likely to be called “Reality Pro” or “XR Pro” which would be more in line with its “xrOS” software platform. Gurman also reiterates previously reported details of the headset, including its svelte design with curved front glass packing an external monitor to show the wearer’s face and eyes. The headset is set to include an external battery that magnetically connects to the headset via a cable, in addition to a sophisticated eye and hand tracking system for gesture-based navigation.
The headset’s highlighting features will encompass communication, consumption, productivity, health, and gaming. The initial killer features of the headset is said to be “advanced videoconferencing” complete with lifelike avatars, extensive collaboration capabilities on the Freeform app, and an external monitor feature with compatible Macs.
The headset will feature two Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) modes which are toggled by a Digital Crown-like dial. VR mode is completely immersive, whereas content will slightly fade into the background when AR mode is engaged. The headset is said to be so thin that users won’t be able to wear prescription glasses while engaging the headset. Instead, Apple plans to offer magnetic “snap-in” prescription lenses that will attach inside the headset.
The headset is unlikely to go on sale for “several more months,” warns Gurman. Apple internally anticipates its headset to be available after the iPhone 15 in September at the earliest, but other dates including December and even early 2024 are in contention. The availability delay stems from the fact that the headset is yet to enter a crucial preproduction process known as Design Validation Testing (DVT). Some testers have complained of the headset overheating when used for an extended period of time, adds Gurman.
An M2-based processor will power the headset and is accompanied by 16GB of RAM, adds Gurman. The headset’s “xrOS” user interface will be navigated by the wearer’s eyes and hands, where they will be able to highlight an item by simply looking at it and then pinching their thumb and index fingers to select it. In addition, the headset incorporates microphones and speakers onboard, but Gurman states that AirPods will likely be needed for better spatial audio.
The headset’s “xrOS” user interface will resemble that of an iPad complete with icons and widgets. Users will be able to run multiple apps at once, and even pin certain apps to specific rooms so that they automatically launch when the wearer enters a said room, according to Gurman. The headset will be ready with many of Apple’s first-party apps on the iPhone and iPad, including Wellness and sports-watching apps. The headset will be able to run current third-party iPad apps from the get-go, and a software development kit running on a Mac-based simulator will be supplied for developers to build headset-first apps.