Apple’s Mixed Reality Headset Will Have an iOS-Like Interface, Advanced Hand Tracking, and Will Function as a Second Display for Mac

The AR/VR headset that Apple has been working on for years is set to be released in 2023, which means that rumours about the device are becoming more prevalent. Source revealed some details about the headset’s interface, apps, and functionality today.

Apple‘s mixed reality headset will have a “iOS-like” interface with “many functions” similar to those found on the iPhone and iPad, as well as the ability to serve as an external display for a connected Mac. Users will be able to control their Mac with a physical keyboard and trackpad/mouse while viewing their Mac’s display in VR.

The headset will “feel familiar to Apple users,” with an interface that is nearly identical to the appearance of an iPhone or iPad. There will be a Home screen with rearranged app icons as well as customizable widgets.

Apple will use external cameras to analyse a user’s hands and eyes, making eye and hand tracking a “major selling point” for the headset. According to reports, the wearer will be able to control the headset by looking at an on-screen item, selecting it, and then activating it with gestures. In contrast to other headset options, Apple will not use a physical controller.

The headset, which is expected to be called “Reality Pro,” will be able to switch between augmented reality and virtual reality. Augmented reality will superimpose virtual objects on the real world, whereas virtual reality will completely isolate the wearer from their surroundings. Augmented reality functions will be accessible via a pass-through mode that utilises the headset’s exterior cameras, and switching between AR and VR will be accomplished via a Digital Crown-like control knob.

Apple will add FaceTime-based video chatting capabilities and meeting rooms, making video conferencing a priority. For interactive meetings, a user’s actual face and full body will be rendered in virtual reality, with realistic avatars available for one-on-one chats. FaceTime with multiple participants will use simpler icons, such as Memoji.

Apple is developing VR content in collaboration with media partners such as Disney and Dolby, as well as updating Apple TV+ shows and movies to work with the headset. Apple’s goal is to give viewers the impression that they are looking at a massive screen in a desert or outer space.

Safari, Photos, Mail, Messages, Apple TV+, Apple Music, Podcasts, and Calendar will be among the apps available, and the headset will have its own App Store for third-party content. Siri, as well as an iPhone, iPad, or Mac keyboard, will be available for text input. Apple is developing an air typing feature, but it is not expected to be ready for release anytime soon.

Apple will provide custom lenses that can sit within the enclosure for those who wear glasses, and Apple expects users to wear AirPods to get an audio experience on par with the visual experience that the headset provides, though it will have built-in speakers.

The headset, as previously rumoured, will have an external battery pack to prevent it from overheating on a user’s face due to the device’s high-end Mac chips. The battery is roughly the size of two iPhone 14 Pro Max models stacked on top of one another and will power the headset for approximately two hours. An external battery allows users to swap out one battery and charge another, allowing them to use the device for longer periods of time.

Other rumoured AR/VR headset features include 4K microOLED displays, more than a dozen cameras, iris tracking, facial expression detection, and more, which can be found in our roundup. The headset will be available later in 2023, possibly as early as the spring, and will cost around $3,000.

After the headset is released, Apple Store locations will have a dedicated area where it can be demonstrated and tested.


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