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Apple’s mixed-reality headset may launch soon: Report

Apple’s mixed-reality headset may launch soon: Report
Photo Credit: Pixabay
20 May, 2022
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Tech major Apple’s much-awaited mixed-reality headset with virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) capabilities is said to be in the advanced stages of development. 

Apple’s board of directors previewed its mixed-reality headset last week, according to a recent Bloomberg report. At the same time, Apple has just ramped up development of rOS (reality operating system), the software that will run on the headset, said the report, suggesting that its “next major new product category could launch anytime soon”. 

The mixed-reality headset will “use cameras on its exterior to stream images to high-resolution displays on the inside of the virtual reality headset”, the report claimed. Apple is also reportedly working on AR versions of its core iPhone apps for the headset that will aid in streaming immersive content and holding virtual meetings. 

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Apple originally planned to unveil the headset in 2019, with a release the following year, which inevitably got delayed due to the pandemic, the report said. The attempt to launch the product in 2021 also got postponed and now there has been some speculation that Apple could announce the AR/VR headset at its upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2022, which will be held from June 6-10. 

In the early stages of the mixed-reality headset’s development, Apple engineers tested their AR software on HTC Vive VR headsets in 2017. The development group also designed a scaled-down headset that used an iPhone’s display, cameras and chip sets, but that device was only created for testing and the company never intended to sell it. 

Apple has not commented on the price of the new mixed reality headset, but speculations are rife is that it may cost anywhere between $1,000 and $3,000. The headset, when released, would represent the company’s first major new product category since the Apple Watch in 2015. 

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Apple is not the only technology giant aiming to release a mixed-reality headset. Last week, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg previewed a virtual reality headset called “Project Cambria,” which will have pass-through augmented reality. Meta also currently sells a $300 virtual reality headset called Quest 2 headset that dominates the market, with about 78% of sales in 2021. Meanwhile, Google previewed a smart glasses prototype last week that translates foreign languages in real time. 

The market for AR/VR and mixed reality headsets grew 92% in 2021 to over 11 million units, according to data from IDC. Apple’s entrance into the category, because of its marketing prowess and product ecosystem, is likely to bring new and exciting opportunities for the industry.