Image: Ian Zelbo
We’re expecting Apple’s first headphones in 2023. Job postings and personnel changes give clues to possible applications.
Rumors about Apple’s first headset have been piling up since 2021. According to Apple leaker Mark Gurman and supply chain analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the first hardware iteration will appear next year. That is, assuming Apple doesn’t postpone the market launch again. The latest report assumes that mass production begins in March 2023 with an unveiling expected in April.
The mixed reality headset could be called ‘Apple Reality Pro’ – a high-end product that is expensive between $2,000 and $3,000, according to Gurman. Gurman expects more than ten sensors, an M2 chip and the highest resolution display ever in a consumer headset.
The supposed headset runs on “realityOS”, offering mixed reality versions of major Apple apps such as Messages, FaceTime and Maps, he said. The first version of realityOS, called “Oak”, is being finalized for the headset’s launch next year, he said. Gurman also reported that a cheaper successor to the Reality Pro aimed at end users is also in development.
3D worlds and VR streaming
We already know quite a bit about mixed reality headset technology. What’s less clear is what sort of hardware-specific apps Apple is pushing for the headset. For Bloomberg, Gurman now flags job postings and personnel changes that give clues to upcoming app offerings.
Among other things, Apple is looking for a professional to develop “tools and frameworks that enable connected experiences in a 3D mixed reality world” – a kind of metaverse. It’s a term that Apple intentionally avoids. Candidates would solve “incredibly challenging and interesting problems in the 3D application space,” the job posting says.
Apple is also looking for professionals specializing in AR and VR content development and development tools in these areas and who have experience in immersive video streaming. The job postings come at just the right time, as Meta recently laid off 11,000 professionals, many of whom have years of VR and AR experience.
Other app focus areas: health and productivity
Gurman also reports that two new managers of distinction lead the 3,000-person helmet department. The first is Dave Scott, who worked on the Apple Car and in the medical and robotic industries. His involvement points to health apps for the mixed reality headset, Gurman says.
The second leader is Apple veteran and chief technology officer Yaniv Gur, whose previous roles included developing the iWork apps Pages, Numbers and Keynote – Apple’s alternatives to Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Gurman predicts the development of Gur productivity apps for the helmet.
Competitor Meta already has a mixed reality headset on the market with Quest Pro (info), designed for productivity but largely lacking in suitable apps. A partnership with Microsoft is supposed to remedy that in 2023 and bring Windows apps to Meta’s Quest 2 and Quest Pro.