A new report states that Apple is working on a high-end standalone headset that is “mostly virtual reality” with some limited AR features.
Bloomberg, which first reported on the device in mid-2020 after a 2019 article from The Information, cites “people with knowledge of the matter” in saying that this device should serve as a precursor to headsets with more advanced AR features and would be used for gaming, media consumption and communication. A glasses spacer — which would allow users with glasses to make room for them inside the headset — has reportedly been removed from the device to help with size, but users will be able to acquire custom prescription lenses. The current design also includes a fan to keep the system cool and has a fabric overlay.
The report goes on to state that Apple could release a device, which is still in the prototype phase under the codename N301, that’s far more expensive than Facebook’s Oculus Quest 2 (which starts at $299), utilizing the company’s latest chips and featuring a “much higher-resolution” display than those seen in current headsets.
More over, the article suggests that some versions of the device are around the size of an Oculus Quest (the article doesn’t specify between the original or Quest 2) and that it includes “external cameras to enable some AR features” as well as hand-tracking, though such features might not ship with the device itself.
Finally, the device runs on a new operating system labelled ‘rOS’. Bloomberg notes that plans for the kit could be scrapped and that some Apple insiders don’t expect it to sell huge numbers in its first iteration.
Recent patent filings support Bloomberg’s report that Apple is working on a VR headset, though its future plans for more dedicated AR devices remain unclear. A ‘mostly VR device’ with limited AR features would also be an accurate way to describe the Quest 2 – Facebook is developing a virtual work application that lets users see the real world mixed with virtual screens.