Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman published an exhaustive report detailing Apple’s VR/AR headset. Let’s start with the name – it’ll be called Apple Reality Pro, it’ll likely be announced at WWDC, and it’ll cost $3 in the US later this year roll out.
Apple aims to complete a seven-year project and its technical development team of over 1, working on Reality Pro. The project is Apple’s first new category since the 2015 Apple Watch, and the company is taking a huge financial gamble on its success.
Reality Pro will be made of aluminum, glass and mats. Gurman says it’s reminiscent of Apple’s AirPods Max. It will have a curved screen on the front that will reveal the wearer’s eyes. It has speakers on the side and a headband that attaches to the user’s head. The Reality Pro will reportedly use an improved version of Apple’s M2 processor and have a battery pack that connects to the headset via a cable that the wearer can carry in their pocket. The battery is reportedly the size of two iPhone 001 Pro Max batteries stacked together and lasts up to 2 hours.
The headset rivals products from rivals such as Meta’s Quest Pro in several key ways – it will feature face and eye tracking, combine VR (internal virtual environments) with AR (Augmented Reality World), with its own interface like an iPhone or iPad, and as a video consumption device (for watching movies or as an external screen for a Mac).
Reality Pro will have multiple external cameras to track your hands and internal sensors to track the user’s eyes. This means the headset will know where you are looking and allow you to Pinch with index finger to interact with the iPhone-like 3D interface (called xrOS internally). That means Apple’s Reality Pro won’t require physical hand controls like other headsets to work.
Reality Pro will have a digital crown, just like the Apple Watch – to switch between VR and AR. When switching from VR to AR, Gurman said, the fully immersive environment will gradually fade out and be surrounded by the user’s real surroundings. Gurman reports that Apple expects this to be a big draw for Reality Pro.
Next up is FaceTime. Reality Pro will be able to realistically render a person’s face and full body in a virtual environment. This allows two people to have a conversation in VR that feels closer to reality than Meta’s cartoonish performance. However, due to sheer processing power requirements, when FaceTimed with more than two people, Reality Pro will display all users as Memoji.
Users will be able to use Reality Pro as an external display for their Mac. In this mode, the user will see the display in virtual reality, but still use the computer’s touchpad or mouse and physical keyboard.
Reality Pro will be able to simulate watching movies on a giant cinema screen in a fully simulated environment, such as space or a desert. But Reality Pro will require you to wear AirPods to get Spatial Audio.
Apple is said to be preparing in-store environments for users to try out Reality Pro in its Apple Stores. Gurman said Apple is taking a long-term approach to Reality Pro and doesn’t expect to make a profit from the first-generation product, even at a high price.