With ARKit, Apple has already set foot in augmented reality for a long time. But since its release, the LiDAR available on iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro has only been used by a few rare developers and no longer seems to be Apple’s main focus. On the other hand, we know, as many patents have shown, that the firm is working on a device that is 100% focused on the gaming through this technology. Or rather two.
Several products on the way
Indeed, according to analysts who heard about the secret Cupertino project, there would in fact not be one but two devices on the way in California. The first would be a virtual or mixed reality headsetwhere the second would rather take the form of a pair of augmented reality glasses. In theory, the helmet should therefore be of more interest to gamers if we focus on the current appetites of the market.
The frame, for its part, should not turn to a more targeted audience like professionals such as Google Glass. We rather imagine that the accessory will want to be the iphone extension, as is already the case with the Apple Watch today. This is what many researchers who have investigated the subject are considering, believing that the glasses may not even deign to launch their OS without pairing with an iPhone.
Supposed data sheet
Apple’s virtual reality headset, whose real name remains totally unknown to this day, looks more like a choice alternative to the Playstation-VR than as a competitor to the HTC Vive. Indeed, it should not be necessary to connect anything to a computer or any smartphone to run the games. And this even if at the beginning, as often with Apple accessories, we thought that the helmet would not work without iPhone. But the days of Cardboard-style mobile boxes are well and truly behind us when it comes to VR.
And for the precise technical characteristics, then? Rumors intersect, contradict each other, come together. Among those that come up most often, we are talking about the lightest helmet on the market and a trio of panels from the laboratories of Sony, Genius Electronic Optical and Young Optics with a 2K resolution for each eye, i.e. 4K finally. With this, a bard of sensors with radar LiDAR and cameras would follow the movements of the user including those of his eyes, when a Digital Crown would play the commands. For performance, you would have to rely on an integrated graphics card and processor. However, we know that the Apple silicon program is specialized in the creation of components of this type via the foundries of TSMC… The loop is closed.
For Apple Glass (glasses), the project is a little more vague. Difficult to know which parts will choose the manufacturer because the product still seems very far from a potential release. We know, however, as seen in patents, that Apple is testing self-cleaning glasses that would diffuse images thanks to the technology micro-OLED. Objective of this solution: to save energy, which is a crucial issue when we know that Google Glass has experienced serious setbacks due to overheating.
Proof, do you want it, here it is
If we talk about VR headset and connected glasses at Apple, it is therefore also because the firm has filed dozens of patents evoking the capabilities of devices of this type. Among them, mention may be made in particular of the document which evokes the case of frames adapting the real environment of the user by means of a tricked view in order to no longer feel motion sickness. Still for smart glasses, it is also rumored that these could scan food like the app Yuka to help you choose healthy food. Integration with the Health app is obvious.
For the virtual reality headset, it could be equipped with a sound system Spatial audio in order to allow the wearer to become aware of his audio environment in three dimensions (auralization). The eyewear would also be able to follow objects located in front of the user and could be delivered together with gloves making it possible to control its environment in three dimensions.
For the moment, details on Apple’s VR headset or connected glasses therefore remain focused mainly on hardware aspects. But of course, such devices will have to be powered by an in-house OS, as Apple knows so well. This could take the name of realityOS or rOS according to some rumors, which the company has not confirmed.
Among the features, we imagine that with regard to the virtual reality headset, it is therefore the gaming that will be highlighted. Apple could then try to compete with the Meta Quest 2 with its own metaversealso offering many of its flagship apps such as FaceTime or Apple TV+ in 360 version. Of course, the on-demand video game service Apple Arcade will also very likely have new 3D titles.
Glasses, on the other hand, should rather allow reading notifications without taking out your mobile. Another welcome use would be that of the GPS on a bicycle, whose routes displayed in front of the eyes would avoid taking your eyes off the road. The Solos, used by the official US cycling team, already offer this functionality, and we know that with Health or the Watch Apple is moving more and more towards sports monitoring.
Release date and price of the Apple VR headset
Apple’s VR headset shouldn’t come out during the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro keynote. Its operating system could however be unveiled at another conference in January 2023, the time for developers to create apps before the product itself is formalized at the Worldwide Developer Conference the same year.
The Apple Glass, finally, surely await validation from the market before seeing the light of day. By 2025 at least, but we are betting on a much later date because the competition itself is not yet developed enough.
By: Keleops AG