Data is still coming in, with information for Apple’s next mixed reality (virtual and augmented) helmet, as well as for its internal screens and another that will enable interaction with the environment.
Thanks to hand and eye tracking technologies, Apple’s mixed reality headgear, which will support both augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), will be controller-free and allow for full-body FaceTime chats with lifelike avatars.
The device from the Tim Cook-led company, on which they have been working for almost seven years with some delays caused by technological challenges, is anticipated to be called the Reality Pro. It will be a high-end item and cost about $3,000 to produce. according to Mark Gurman, a journalist, and analyst for Bloomberg, in November. In contrast, the Oculus Quest Pro from Meta costs $1,500, while there are less expensive Oculus and HTC options.
As Gurman mentioned a few weeks ago, the viewer is anticipated to debut in the fall of this year. Now, it has been revealed that Apple wants to introduce the gadget in the spring and that it will feature several features that will take a “new approach” to the market for mixed reality headsets, according to statements from sources close to the project gathered by Bloomberg.
In this manner, the viewer might be unveiled in December after being presented at Apple’s annual developer conference in June. Nonetheless, these sources also mention that the release date can shift.
One of the most significant novelties that the US company plans to add with Reality Pro is eye and hand-tracking technology. The headset will feature sensors and external cameras that can examine a user’s hands, according to persons familiar with the product.
In this approach, a screen element, such as an icon, can be selected by the user just by staring at it on the screen. The specified function or tool will then need to be activated by the user using a hand gesture. Bloomberg provides an example of how the gesture may involve joining the thumb and fingers.
Unlike other virtual reality viewers, this technology enables the viewer to be utilized without the requirement for controllers to record hand gestures or buttons to activate any tools.
Although the Reality Pro will be a mixed reality headset, which was already known, one of its unique aspects is that it will be able to perform a variety of augmented reality and virtual reality tasks. In contrast to AR, which overlays digital content on what the user sees in the real world, VR allows users to view content inside the glasses.
The gadget would have a “digital crown” similar to the one on an Apple Watch to change modes. It is the plan for this function to be “the showpiece of the product,” according to individuals close to the company.
The viewers will use two Sony ultra-high-resolution screens to display the VR to do. Also, because the external cameras will display the real environment on the screens, the viewer will be able to activate an AR mode. According to quotes compiled by Bloomberg, Apple will also provide users with prescription glasses with specific lenses that will be inserted into the visor itself.
In keeping with this theme, one of the VR capabilities Apple will offer is the capacity to set up virtual conference rooms and video conferences based on FaceTime. Apple has developed software that will “realistically” display a user’s face and entire body in virtual reality to achieve this. Users will need the “Reality Pro” for these virtual meetings to converse with one another as if they were in the same room.
Avatar meetings can only have two participants due to the “immense processing power” these videoconferences need. It is also possible to create meetings with more participants, but as insiders close to Apple have stated, the extra participants will just show up as an icon or an Apple “Memoji.”
Watching immersive videos will also be possible with the virtual reality headset. According to Bloomberg, Apple has actually collaborated with six partners, including Walt Disney and Dolby Labs, to create mixed reality content for the device. Also, it will update your Apple TV Plus content so that you can use it with this gadget.
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To give viewers the impression that they are watching a movie on a large screen, immersive video viewing is a concept. But, to receive “full spatial audio,” AirPods headphones are required.
With all of this, the Reality Pro will be able to work as Mac’s external display and imitate several iPhone and iPad features. As a result, the user will be able to operate the computer while seeing the screen in the viewer using his “trackpad” or a traditional keyboard and mouse.
This has been made possible by the xrOS operating system used by Reality Pro. According to insiders, this operating system will have many of the same capabilities as the iPhone or iPad but in a 3D setting. In this way, they will be able to install third-party software and have access to a web browser, photos, mail, messages, and the calendar application, among other ‘apps’.
The interface, which consists of a screen with grid icons and “widgets,” will be familiar to users of the iPhone and iPad. The Siri speech assistant or the keyboard on an iPhone, Mac, or iPad can both be used to enter text. The most crucial difference between the viewer and the Apple Watch is that none of these gadgets are required for it to function.
Final words on Mixed Reality Headsets
Gurman has noted that despite all of this, the persons who had access to this material acknowledged that “there are still months to go” before the helmets are introduced and that some features may thus be “canceled or altered.” They did, however, guarantee that Apple would “adopt a novel approach” and include features that would “shake the virtual reality industry.”
Apple has removed the viewer battery from the product, creating an external battery that users can put in their pockets and connect via a cable to the mixed reality headset. According to Gurman, this external battery will be the size of “roughly two iPhone 14 Pro Max layered one on top of the other.”