Apple VR headset: Everything we know so far (Updated)
It's increasingly likely that an Apple VR headset will soon become reality.
According to some reports, Apple has plans to replace the iPhone with an augmented reality headset within 10 years.
When you consider developments in the VR market like the Metaverse, Apple entering the fray could have huge implications across multiple industries. We've rounded up everything we currently know, or think we know, about this alluring new product.
Apple VR headset release date and price
A recent report has suggested the headset has completed key production tests, and will be entering mass production around August or September, with a view to release the product this year. According to this report, 2023 will see the release of a more affordable model.
As far as price goes, the release of the headset is simply too far off to say anything concrete. The best reports we have suggest Apple has had internal discussions about pricing the headset at around US$3,000. That's over AUD$4,100, plus the infamous "Apple Tax" Australians are used to paying.
As you might imagine, the operating system you'll find on Apple's VR headset will be quite different from Apple's other operating systems you know and love. The long-rumoured existence of "realityOS" was confirmed by the discovery of references in App Store logs.
Reports indicate that realityOS would feature its very own App Store, focussing on gaming, streaming and video conferencing.
Apple VR headset features
So, what exactly can you expect when this headset finally hits the market?
It's believed the headset will focus on both augmented reality and virtual reality. If you're wondering what the difference between the 2 is, put simply, augmented reality adds digital elements to the live world around you, while virtual reality completely changes the environment around you into a totally digital experience.
The Apple VR Headset is set to be equipped with more than a dozen cameras to track hand movements to a very accurate degree. Advanced eye-tracking technology will also be included, alongside 2 8K displays, which would be sure to create an extremely life-like effect.
According to sources claiming to have seen internal Apple images, the headset will feature a curved visor with mesh material where it contacts the face. Supposedly, consumers will have access to a number of headband choices, including one that offers AirPod-esque spatial audio, and another offering additional battery life.
Also of note are Apple's concepts for controlling the set. One method is said to be a device resembling a thimble, while another could be the headset simply responding to eye and hand movements.
If the idea of walking around with a big, bulky visor doesn't appeal to you, reports of AR glasses being in the works will come as good news. While these gadgets are even further off than the headset itself, they could provide much of the same functionality in a much sleeker, more convenient package.
Apple's WWDC came and went without so much as a mention of its virtual reality plans. Despite this, leaks are already beginning to circulate regarding a second generation of Apple's VR headset.
One leak comes from a well-respected source in South Korea's The Elec. It relates to some interesting politicking going on among manufacturers vying to be the main supplier for the headsets. According to the rumour, the first edition of the Apple VR headset will feature a main micro OLED panel created by Sony, while a smaller OLED "indicator panel" will be provided by LG.
But LG is reportedly hoping to flip the script the second time around. It has apparently placed orders for the equipment required to manufacture micro OLED screens so it can overtake Sony as the main supplier for the device. Considering that Sony is more of a direct rival to Apple than LG is, it's easy to see why Apple might be interested in making the switch.
For some of you, all these reports beg a simple question – what is micro OLED technology? Put simply, micro OLED screens differ from traditional OLED screens in that they involve affixing an OLED layering to silicone rather than glass. Most importantly for VR headsets, micro OLED screens are much lighter than conventional OLED screens.
The downside to this emergent technology is cost. It's a major culprit behind the eye-watering expected price tag we mentioned above.
Some new information about how the headset may be controlled has been revealed via patents submitted by Apple. These patents indicate that users will control the headset with motion-tracking devices that look suspiciously like the Apple Watch.
The patent indicates that the smartwatches would use their electrodes to track gestures and contact points to control the headset. Of course, it's perfectly possible that what appears to be an Apple Watch could be a far more stripped-down controller that comes free with purchase.
Still, considering how expensive we expect the headset to be, Apple telling customers they also need to purchase 2 Apple Watches to control it would be so brazen we'd actually be impressed.
If you want to get your hands on a Meta Quest 2 this Christmas, check out these affordable deals on refurbished models.Read more…
Best deals on other Apple products
It's very possible Apple's VR headset will carry compatibility with other Apple devices, so if you're keen on this new headset, grab one of the items below to get ready.
Want to be in the know about all the latest tech news? Head over to Technology Finder. If you're interested in buying a VR headset today, check out our guide to the best gear on the market.