High-End Apple VR/AR Headset to Reportedly Cost $3000
An earlier Bloomberg report claimed that Apple could be planning to release a high-end VR headset by 2022 that will have limited AR capabilities. This AR/VR headset will reportedly be a precursor to Apple’s long-rumored and full-fledged Augmented Reality device. Now a follow-up report by The Information claims that Apple’s first headset will cost about $3,000 and will include a few desirable features that should be on the wishlist of every avid VR enthusiast.
The Information report (paywalled) cites people “with direct knowledge of the device” and contends that the upcoming AR/VR headset will have over a dozen cameras that will be used for functions such as passthrough AR, room-scale tracking and hand-tracking. The new headset will also feature dual 8K displays and will deploy eye-tracking for foveated rendering, a rendering technique with integrated eye tracker designed to render content at the highest resolution where a user’s gaze is focused. Foveated rendering cuts down on the rendering workload by reducing the image quality on the user’s peripheral vision to optimize the virtual reality graphics.
The internal Apple images which were leaked to The Information show a prototype in its late stages around 2020. They also include a sleek and curved visor that is attached to the face with a mesh material and swappable headbands. The image shown below is an artist’s rendering of what the Apple headset looks like and is based on the images of the headset.
According to The Information report, Apple had internally discussed the $3,000 price-point for the headset which implies that the headset could be pitched for the enterprise or prosumer market segment in the same way that Apple has positioned its Mac Pro computers.
The report also states that Apple is exploring several methods of input beyond eye-tracking and that these include a “thimble-like device to be worn on a person’s finger.”
The swappable headbands in the Apple headset aren’t just for aesthetics even though they will be available in various colors. They could be fitted with spatial audio tech like in the AirPods. They could also be used to extend the battery life of the Apple headset just like the Elite Strap with Battery in Oculus Quest 2.
Previous reports had mentioned that Apple was only planning to sell low volumes of the headset and this could be true given the $3,000 price tag. Should that prove to be the case, then it appears Apple isn’t interested in the consumer market which is already dominated by the Oculus Quest 2 headset. The price tag is in the same range as that of Varjo’s VR-3, an enterprise-level hardware that packs similar features and retails at $3,195.
The Apple headset is reportedly expected to launch in 2022 so it is expected that some official news might come in the course of the year.