Apple’s long-rumored VR / AR headset could be packed with ambitious technologies, including advanced hand tracking, the ability to see your Mac’s display, and even recreating digital versions of users in one-on-one FaceTime conversations, according to an extensive new report from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman.
Much of the advanced technologies will be enabled by “several” external cameras that can track your hands as well as “sensors within the gadget’s housing” that can be used to read your eyes, Gurman reports. You’ll apparently be able to just look at something onscreen to select it and then pinch your fingers together to activate it, meaning the headset won’t require external controllers, like the Meta’s high-end Quest Pro and Sony’s upcoming PlayStation VR2. Gurman says that the headset will let users switch between VR and AR by twisting a digital crown, something that was also reported by The Information earlier this month.
Like the Quest Pro, Apple’s headset will apparently have a major focus on collaboration between other headset users. According to Gurman, in one-on-one FaceTime calls between two people, each wearing a headset, the device will be able to “realistically render a user’s face and full body in virtual reality.” This will be a remarkable feat if it’s actually included — right now, many virtual meeting spaces rely on cartoony avatars. The company is also developing an immersive way to watch videos on a big screen while you’re wearing the headset, Gurman says, though you’ll need AirPods to hear spatial audio. And you’ll be able to use the headset to see your Mac’s display in VR but still control it with a mouse and keyboard.
Gurman reports that the headset’s battery will be offloaded to an external pack that’s intended to sit in your pocket and connect to the device with a cable, which would be similar to the Magic Leap. The pack, which Gurman describes as “roughly the size of two iPhone 14 Pro Maxes stacked on top of each other,” will apparently give the headset two hours of juice, though he reports that Apple has some internal prototypes with a built-in battery.
Gurman says the headset is likely to be called the “Reality Pro” (the company has filed trademarks for the name) and will cost “roughly” $3,000, which would double the price of Quest Pro. Despite that high price, Apple apparently expects to sell only about 1 million headsets in its first year, Gurman reports, which is perhaps an acknowledgment that this initial device will be out of reach for many customers. The company is developing a cheaper headset, Gurman reported last week, but even that might still cost quite a bit; the more affordable device could have a price closer to $1,500.