Throughout the years, we’ve heard a lot of rumors about Apple’s VR and AR ambitions, but today, a new report is revealing a ton of new information. As it turns out, Apple is said to be pursuing a virtual reality headset first and is planning to take what it learned in creating such a headset and apply it to the creation of AR glasses. That virtual reality headset Apple is working on is also said to be an expensive, niche product, while the company is planning on its eventual AR glasses to have more mainstream appeal.
That’s according to Bloomberg, which spoke to anonymous sources “with knowledge of the matter.” Bloomberg reports that Apple’s VR headset will offer the usual slate of VR features for “gaming, watching video and communication,” but it’ll only offer limited AR functionality as well. Apple could launch the headset as early as 2022, and it sounds like Apple is attempting to make a standalone headset after Jony Ive himself nixed an idea of streaming content to the headset from wireless hub.
Apple also apparently wants to make this VR headset a high-end one, with some prototypes using processors which exceed the company’s freshly-released M1 chip in terms of performance. It sounds like Apple has even equipped that headset with a fan to assist in cooling, but between that fan and the hardware, the headset was deemed too heavy by testers. To solve that issue, Apple cut down on the space inside the headset that was originally meant to allow users to wear eyeglasses, with sources saying that Apple has instead “developed a system where custom prescription lenses can be inserted into the headset over the VR screens.”
It sounds like a beast of a headset, and because of that, we can probably expect it to cost more than the competition according to Bloomberg’s report. Pricing targets weren’t shared by Bloomberg’s sources, but the company is apparently okay with the idea that this could be a niche system that’s a relative slow seller compared to some of Apple’s other products. The goal, after all, seems to be to use the development of this VR headset to inform Apple’s efforts in creating a pair of AR glasses, the reveal of which is still several years out according to these sources.
Keep in mind that since this headset is still in the prototyping phase, Apple could change the headset dramatically by the time it’s revealed or even scrap it entirely. We’ll see what happens from here, but assuming Bloomberg’s report is accurate, it may not be long before we finally see Apple step into the realm of virtual reality headsets.