A new report by The Information shares more details of Apple’s AR/VR mixed headset’s chipset which shed light on its functionality. The publisher claims that the AR/VR mixed headset will require a connection with another device, iPhone, iPad, or MacBook to work. Like the early models of the Apple Watch, users will have to carry their iPhone or the paired device for the most advanced features.
Previously, the publisher reported that the tech giant’s mixed reality headset will support both virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) and will feature dual 8K displays, swappable headbands, and eye-tracking. It is expected to launch in 2022.
The custom chip of Apple’s AR/VR mixed headset will not be as powerful as iPhone’s chip
As per the report, the company completed the device’s key system on a chip (SoC) and two other custom chips last year and are ready for trial. The chipsets are produced by Apple’s long-term supplier TSMC (Taiwanese Semiconductor Manufacturing Company) but are not as powerful as the processors of Apple’s other products because the paired device is designed to carry out complex functions.
More significant are the details of the SoC, which isn’t as powerful as the ones made for iPhones, iPads and MacBooks. It lacks the artificial intelligence and machine-learning capabilities, known as Apple’s neural engine, which those devices include, one of the people said.
Instead, the headset is meant to communicate wirelessly with a host device, presumably a phone, computer or tablet, that will handle the more powerful computing required to display virtual, mixed and augmented reality images, the person said.
The report furthermore details that Apple’s image sensor has an unconventional size which has presented TSMC with production challenges.
The complementary metal-oxide semiconductor image sensor is the chip that converts photons to electrons for digital processing into an image. Apple’s version is unusually large, similar to the size of one of the headset’s lenses, as it’s meant to capture high-resolution image data from a user’s surroundings for AR. TSMC has struggled to produce the chip without defects and has faced low yields during trial production, the person said.