July 03, 2022 3 min read

 Apple Will Soon Release Their Own VR/AR Headset

Virtual and augmented reality are two significant changes coming to the gadget world. And according to rumors, Apple will soon release its own VR/AR headset either by the end of 2022 or early 2023. An article published inMacRumors.com stated that the company’s supply chain partners have been told that the VR/AR headset is unlikely to be released until 2023. However, Apple has been pushing vendors to have the units available by the end of 2022.

But while the release of this VR/AR headset isn’t announced yet, here are a few things we should expect from the gadget:

 

VR/AR Headset Development

Apple has been developing AR/VR products for a long time now. And while the iPhone remains the company’s most profitable product, it is expected that in the future, VR/AR technology will soon replace it.

According to some sources, the original headset design of the Apple VR/AR headset includes powerful processors and a fan. Early designs of the gadget suggested that it would require being connected to an iPhone or Mac for its processing power. However, changes have been made to the design, and the developers decided to add high-end chips to the gadget itself.

The early prototypes of the headset have been said to have an 8K display for one. There is also the rumor that the headset would connect to a dedicated box using a high-speed wireless technology called 60GHz WiGig. This particular box is said to be powered by a custom 5-nanometer Apple processor and would resemble a PC tower. It is also stated that the processors in this box are more powerful than anything currently available on the market.

Unfortunately, we might not be seeing this dedicated box as it brought internal disagreements within the development team. According to reports, Apple designer Jony Ive wasn’t thrilled with the “box” design. He didn’t want to sell a device that would require a separate and stationary addition to deliver its full functionality.

Ive wanted to design a headset with less powerful technology that can be embedded directly in the device. However, the AR/VR team leader, Mike Rockwell, wanted a more powerful headset. In the end, though, Tim Cook went with Ive’s idea and design.

Apple’s VR / AR Team 

Apple VR AR Headset

In March 2015, there was news that Apple had created a small group of people working on augmented reality. By early 2016, the team grew as Apple hired more people with AR/VR technology expertise. The company also made several related acquisitions.

As of January 2021, former Apple hardware engineering chief Dan Riccio transitioned to a new role. He is now overseeing Apple’s work on AR/VR headsets. The AR/VR project has faced development challenges over the years. Apple executives believe that Riccio’s focus will help the team.

Apple software executive, Kim Vorath, is also part of the augmented reality team. According to reports, she has become a “powerful force” to ensure that employees meet their deadlines.

Apple has also hired several known AR/VR and AI experts. The team includes computer science professor Doug Bowman, former Oculus research scientist Yury Petrov, AR expert Jeff Norris, VR camera maker Arthur van Hoff, and VR app expert Sterling Crispin.

 

Apple AR/VR Partnerships

Since 2015, Apple has acquired several companies developing and designing AR/VR-related products. Here are a few of those companies:

  • PrimeSense - works with 3D depth technology and motion sensing.
  • Metaio- built an AR product that can create AR scenarios in a few minutes called Metaio Creator.
  • Akonia Holographics - develops the HoloMirror technology that delivers ultra-clear and full-color performance.
  • Vrvana - develops a mixed-reality headset that combines AR and VR technologies.
  • Faceshift -works with game and animation studios to capture facial expressions using 3D sensors.
  • Emotient -builds tools for facial expression analysis.
  • Flyby Media - works with Google’s 3D sensor-equipped smartphone called Project Tango.
  • RealFace -specializes in facial recognition technology used for future AR features.
  • Next VR -works with VR technology in music, sports, and entertainment.
  • Valve - works with Apple for theirVR gaming headset to support macOS High Sierra.
  • Spaces -designs virtual reality experiences in malls and other locations.

 

Possible Release Date

It is rumored that Apple is targeting the dates of the Worldwide Developers Conference 2022 to finally unveil their VR/AR headset. However, with the current issues and challenges the team faces, it is more likely that 2023 will be the perfect year for the headset to debut.

According to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the headset may have a January 2023 announcement with a launch. But Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman said that Apple is targeting a mid-2022 unveiling, which has been pushed back to the end of the year.



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