What will Apple’s mixed reality headset look like?

According to BloombergApple has reportedly begun discussions with Disney to develop virtual reality content for its helmet due in the spring, which is gradually being revealed.

The object of all fantasies. That’s pretty much how the mixed reality headset whispered by Apple is perceived, the brand’s first new product since the release of the Apple Watch in 2015. Officially, it doesn’t exist, and neither Tim Cook nor anyone from the Cupertino side has mentioned. the smallest details about it. Only we know that the Apple boss has a weakness for augmented reality compared to virtual reality. That’s good, the potential home helmet should do both.

And Mark Gurman, Bloomberg’s expert reporter, never stops distilling a number of elements about this mixed reality headset, which he says should appear in the spring. The always well-informed reporter does this week’s report for all the information about the product which wants to be “a 3D version of the iPhone operating system” and even gives a lot more details on how it works.

A great do-it-all helmet

Designed with the help of Sony Group Corp, the headphones promise to be comfortable, with an aluminum frame, glass and cushions similar to those of the AirPods Max headphones. It should benefit from two ultra-high resolution screens, multiple external cameras to be able to see what is happening around the user, eye and hand tracking, speakers and microphones.

Meta Quest Pro Virtual Reality Headset
Meta Quest Pro Virtual Reality Headset © Meta

Like the Meta Quest Pro, the headset, likely named Reality Pro, should focus on productivity, virtual meetings and immersive video, with video conferencing rooms and meetings based on FaceTime, Apple’s video messaging service. Other features taken from the iPhone and iPad will be used. For Mark Gurman, the helmet can also be connected to a Mac to serve as an external display.

Apple would also have thought of glasses holders with specialized lenses that will be integrated into the helmet to carry the kit without worries.

There are no controllers and an interface close to the iPhone

On the user side, Apple aims to go controller-free and everything will be based on hand and eye detection. It will be enough to grab and move your fingers to activate the tasks. Siri would come in reinforcement for the voice controls of an interface close to that of the iPhone. A digital crown similar to that of the Apple Watch would allow switching between augmented and virtual realities.

The Apple Watch digital crown will be placed on the helmet to transition from virtual reality to the real world
The Apple Watch digital crown will be placed on the helmet to transition from virtual reality to the real world © Apple

According to Bloomberg citing unnamed insiders, this ability to switch from the virtual world to the real world with additional elements of a movement would be the main highlight of the teams, with “realistic face and body rendering via FaceTime”, as well as interiors. and external cameras.

The device would be powered by an M2 chip, already present in the latest MacBook Air as well as the iPad Pro, but also by a processor to manage mixed reality. The battery will be in an external pack connected by a wire. A way to prevent the helmet from heating up on the face or back during heavy use. Autonomy would be two hours, as is often the case with this type of wireless headphones.

Disney, Dolby and developers in sight

Undoubtedly the high-end product on the horizon, and announced at nearly $3,000 (approx. €2,900 HT), the mixed reality headset should have a content proposition up to par, and if possible new, compared to the Quest and other HTC Vives. It could be talked about at the upcoming WWDC developer conference in June to entice creators and make them want to design apps ahead of a release expected in early 2024. But not just them.

Apple CEO Tim Cook
Apple CEO Tim Cook © BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI / AFP

Apple is also said to have entered into negotiations with a dozen partners, including Disney, to offer virtual reality content. The Apple brand already has a large number of augmented reality applications that it just needs to adapt to a new medium. However, its platform would need new blood to stand out. Dolby, the sound and imaging specialist, would also have been approached. Acquired in 2020, streaming company NextVR will be responsible for creating sports content in VR.

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