Apple's XR headset Reality Pro to become an Apple Store attraction
Apple plans to sell one million mixed reality headsets, according to a report, but doesn't expect to make a profit on the device. The device is also designed to attract visitors to Apple retail stores.
Earlier this year, tech magazine The Information published a report with numerous details about 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 extensive report that also contains technical details and partly confirms the earlier information and also adds more details.
The article describes the hardware, the features of the operating system and the applications of the Apple Reality Pro, as well as Apple's sales expectations and marketing plans.
Eye and hand tracking as core interfaces
The device is made of aluminum, glass, and cushioning 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 intended to break down social isolation. Speakers are built into the case, but AirPods will have to be used for high-quality sound and 3D audio.
Eye and hand tracking are said to be among the device's greatest strengths. A controller is not included, unlike most commercially available headsets. Accordingly, Apple is relying entirely on the new interfaces.
Like the Apple Watch, the device will have a dial 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 is quite bulky. Some testers complained that this solution was "bulky," according to the report. The battery also runs 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 is said to be virtually identical to that of the iPhone and iPad, but set 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 are also planned.
It will be possible to use Siri or other Apple devices to compose text. Unlike the Apple Watch, an iPhone is not required, meaning that Apple Reality One will run completely autonomously. Apple is working on technology that allows you to type on a virtual keyboard in the air. This feature is not expected to be ready for launch.
The headset also offers productivity features. For example, users can use it as an external Mac display while still working with a trackpad, mouse, and keyboard.
Core applications include a VR version of Facetime, which allows two users to meet in VR. The software renders faces and bodies as realistic avatars and is designed to give the impression of being in the same room.
Also in the works are immersive video and a virtual movie theater that lets you watch content from Apple TV+ on a big screen and in a variety of 3D environments. Third-party VR games are also expected to play a role. Apple is said to have developed its own engine for this purpose.
Apple Reality Pro is supposed to attract customers to Apple stores
Apple is aiming to sell one million units in the first year, Gurman said. Production of the headset is expected to begin in February, which fits with 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 planned for the spring, but Apple's plans could change.
Despite the high price tag of around $3,000, Apple doesn't expect to make any money from selling the hardware, which Bloomberg suggests is Apple's long-term plan for the platform. The site previously reported that a cheaper headset is planned for 2024 or 2025, which could cost around $1,500 and be called Apple Reality One.
Apple hopes the extravagant product will draw customers to the Apple Store. Not necessarily to buy the expensive device, but maybe another Apple product. The Apple Stores will have a special area where people can try out the headset.