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Apple plans to sell one million mixed reality headsets, according to a report, but does not expect to make a profit on the device. The device is also designed to attract visitors to Apple retail stores.
Earlier this year, technology magazine The Information published a report with extensive details on Apple’s new product, which will be called “Reality One”, will cost around $3,000 and could be released later this year.
Now, Bloomberg has published another detailed report which also contains technical details and partially confirms earlier information and also adds more details.
The article describes the hardware, operating system features and applications of the Apple Reality Pro, as well as Apple’s business expectations and marketing plans.
Eye and hand tracking as main interfaces
The device is made of aluminum, glass and padding and, according to the report, is reminiscent of Apple’s AirPods Max headphones. A curved screen is built into the front of the case, which displays the user’s eyes and is meant to break social isolation. Speakers are built into the case, but AirPods will need to be used for high-quality audio and 3D sound.
Eye and hand tracking would be one of the biggest assets of the device. A controller is not included, unlike most commercially available headsets. As a result, Apple is betting entirely on the new interfaces.
Like the Apple Watch, the device will have a watch face that can be used to switch between VR and AR. This feature will be one of the highlights of the product.
For several reasons (heat generation, form factor, weight), the battery is housed in an external battery pack that connects to the headset via a cable. The device is about the size of two iPhone 14 Pro Max stacked on top of each other, so it’s quite bulky. Some testers complained that this solution was “cumbersome,” according to the report. The battery also wears out after about two hours and needs to be replaced.
VR Facetime and immersive video
The operating system, called xrOS, is an attempt to create a 3D version of iOS. The interface would be practically identical to that of the iPhone and iPad, but in a 3D environment. Available apps include Safari, Photos, Mail, Messages, and the Calendar app. An App Store for third-party apps and Apple’s own services such as Apple TV+, Apple Music and Apple Podcasts is also planned.
It will be possible to use Siri or other Apple devices to compose text. Unlike the Apple Watch, an iPhone isn’t required, which means Apple Reality One will work completely on its own. Apple is working on a technology that allows typing on a virtual keyboard in the air. This feature should not be ready for launch.
The headset also offers productivity features. For example, users can use it as an external Mac display while working with a trackpad, mouse, and keyboard.
Basic applications include a VR version of Facetimewhich allows two users to meet in VR. The software renders faces and bodies as lifelike avatars and is designed to give the impression of being in the same room.
An immersive video and virtual movie theater that lets you watch Apple TV+ content on the big screen and in a variety of 3D environments is also in the works. Third-party VR games should also play a role. Apple would have developed its own engine for this purpose.
Apple Reality Pro is supposed to attract customers to Apple stores
Apple aims to sell one million units in the first year, Gurman said. Production of the helmet is expected to begin in February, matching a recent report that lens shipments will begin in February. The device may initially only be available in the United States. According to Bloomberg, the presentation is scheduled for the spring, but Apple’s plans could change.
Despite the hefty price tag of around $3,000, Apple doesn’t expect to make any money selling the hardware, which Bloomberg says is Apple’s long-term plan for the platform. The site previously reported that a cheaper headset was planned for 2024 or 2025, which could cost around $1,500 and be called Apple Reality One.
Apple hopes that an extravagant product will attract customers to the Apple Store. Not necessarily to buy the expensive device, but maybe another Apple product. Apple Stores will have a special area where people can try on the headphones.