Apple is working on AR/VR headset with 8K displays, swappable headbands, and eye-tracking

A new report has surfaced today which reveals some features of Apple’s upcoming mixed reality headset which will feature dual 8K displays, swappable headbands, and eye-tracking. The headset will support both virtual reality and augmented reality which gives it the mixed reality name.

Apple could launch its new mixed reality headset as early as next year, in 2022, as per The Information, which has revealed details of the late-stage prototype of the headset from last year. As per the report, the headset has a sleek, curved visor in the front, which covers the eyes, while the headband is swappable and made out of a mesh material, which sounds similar to AirPods Max’ headband.

Apple Mixed Reality headset

Apple’s mixed reality headset’s features detailed in new report

Apple’s mixed reality headset will feature dual 8K displays, which is an extremely high resolution. To put things into perspective. Oculus Quest 2, one of the most popular virtual reality headsets available right now, features a 4K display, when the resolution of both its lens is combined. The headset will feature more than a dozen cameras, which will allow users to not only experience virtual reality on the displays, but also see the world around them for a mixed reality experience.

To control the user interface in the headset, Apple is working on a “thimble-like device” that will be worn on a user’s finger and will work along with eye-tracking and hand gesture input. The company is also experimenting with a dial on the headset. As per the report, it seems that Apple is still trying to figure out the best input for its headset’s user interface, which is expected to be called realityOS, or rOS.

It was previously reported that Apple’s first headset would be very expensive and the report confirms that. The headset is expected to retail for $3,000, which is just $500 less than Microsoft’s mixed reality headset, HoloLens. However, HoloLens is targeted towards enterprise usage instead of consumers, which would be Apple’s primary market. Apple understands that at such a high price point, the product will not sell a lot, so it plans to only ship 250,000 units in the first year.

A report by Bloomberg last month had said that Apple will be creating a VR headset first, followed by AR glasses later. The report said that Apple expects to sell only 180,000 units of its first headset, and will power it with its own custom silicon, which will be faster than the M1 chip used in Macs. The company is also looking into prescription lenses to sell at its retail stores. Apple is also working on content and experiences for virtual reality, which is why it acquired NextVR.

While the first iteration of Apple’s mixed reality headset does not sound appealing or futuristic, many users might want to wait for AR glasses, which will be lightweight, feature see-through glass, and aesthetically pleasing to wear. Apple’s AR glasses are expected to launch in 2023 or later.

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