Full details on Apple’s upcoming mixed reality headset

Apple’s virtual and augmented reality headset, which has caused so much ink to flow in recent months, should be one of Apple’s biggest announcements this year 2023. The presentation could be held on the occasion of WWDC next June ; release is expected in any case in the second half of the year.

According to the website informationPegatron was reportedly tasked with assembling thousands of prototypes last year at a factory near Shanghai. The car would have passed the stage of engineering verification test (EVT) which consists of verifying that all components are working as expected. Perhaps on this occasion our colleagues managed to get a lot of technical details about the future helmet.

Concept from Ian Zelbo

The information claims that the helmet will be designed with aluminum, glass and carbon fiber to optimize its size and weight. The cameras would be mostly hidden for aesthetic reasons. On the right side of the device, there would be a small physical setting that resembles a digital crown, like on the Apple Watch or AirPods Max headphones, to allow the user to instantly switch between virtual reality and reality, augmented and vice versa . This crown would be free of haptic feedback.

Apple would have developed some headbands so that the helmet fits well on the head. For example, there would be one that would be inspired by the Sport bracelet of the Apple Watch, with built-in speakers, and another that would be specifically intended for developers. Apple originally wanted the headbands to be interchangeable, like the Apple Watch straps, but the idea was abandoned for good reason: the headbands will contain electronics, and in particular a magnetic cable (of the MagSafe type) that allows the connection and an external replaceable battery system. intended to be worn at waist level. Each battery will provide approximately two hours of battery life.

The helmet would have a front screen which would apparently make it possible to transcribe the emotions of its wearer in real time. Inside, there would be a 4K Micro-OLED display for each eye, with a 120° field of view. It would be possible to insert special lenses for spectacle wearers. Small motors would move the inner lens to better match the pupil distance of the wearer.

Each eye would be tracked so that the direction of gaze is transcribed into the external avatar. There would be a total of more than a dozen cameras to track the user’s movements in real time, including his feet. Apple would obviously have abandoned some cameras that had to follow the movements of the jaw and eyebrows, which apparently could be transcribed thanks to a machine learning system. Of course, the helmet will be equipped with several LiDAR scanners to recognize its surroundings in three dimensions.

The headphone processor would still be etched to a fineness of 5 nanometers. In particular, there would be a very special image processor which would be responsible for transcribing the distorted vision of the multiple external cameras onto the two internal screens. The H2 chip would also be present for very low-latency communication with AirPods.

The set would be controlled by hand movements as well as voice, but Apple would also have tested control with a stick as well as a type of handheld dice. Apple won’t offer a dedicated controller for video games, but a partnership with Unity is reportedly in the works to bring games to the platform. There would be a special emphasis on video conferencing with avatars that reproduce the user’s expressions very accurately. It would be possible to open iOS applications in 2D, and some like Maps would be adapted to 3D, for example to visualize the three-dimensional model of a city on a table.

As for the price, many rumors have predicted that the headset will exceed the value of $2000, and The Information goes further: it would be more of a case for a price around $3000 … or even more depending on the configurations selected.

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