Apple’s $3,000 VR headset could boast 8K display, advanced hand- and eye-tracking

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Apple VR headset: If a $3,000 price tag doesn't scream
If a $3,000 price tag doesn't scream "niche product," what does?
Photo: Hammer & Tusk/Unsplash CC

Apple’s mixed-reality headset could cost around $3,000, solidifying its status as a niche luxury item, The Information claims in a new report.

The device supposedly will boast high-resolution 8K displays and some smart eye-tracking technology. Plus, more than a dozen built-in cameras could track wearers’ hand movements.

The paywalled report continues:

“The inclusion of two 8K displays in the headset would make its picture quality far higher than that of other consumer headsets – and even the majority of high-end televisions, which cost thousands of dollars at 8K resolution. Apple has for years worked on technology that uses eye tracking to fully render only parts of the display where the user is looking. That would let the headset show lower-quality graphics in the user’s peripheral vision and reduce the device’s computing needs, according to people with knowledge of the efforts.”

The Information’s writers say they’ve seen images of a prototype unit being developed by Apple. The headset includes a curved visor attached to the face via mesh materials, and switchable headbands. (Apple supposedly explored swappable headbands for AirPods Max, but the feature didn’t make the final product.)

Another pricey, niche product for Apple

While companies like Oculus, Valve and Sony produce well-reviewed VR headsets, virtual reality remains very much a niche technology. Cheerleaders contend VR should be a hit, especially during a pandemic, but widespread adoption remains elusive.

Can Apple give VR the boost it needs? Provided The Information’s report is accurate, it sounds like the first Apple VR headset could be another another “high right” product. That means that it would tip the scale in both specs and pricing. Apple has released a few of these under CEO Tim Cook’s leadership. Such products serve almost as runway fashion without regard for being approachable to typical users.

The Apple Watch Edition, for instance, retailed at a starting price of $10,000. The $349 HomePod, while considerably cheaper than that, was still far more expensive than rival smart speakers like the Amazon Echo. More recently, Apple debuted the $549 AirPods Max.

These products frequently don’t sell in big numbers. However, they allow Apple to create an uncompromised product with which to enter the market. The company can later use some of that tech in other products, as it did when it released the $99 HomePod mini.

In the case of this mixed-reality headset, it’s possible the tech in this debut product could inform the later, cheaper augmented-reality “Apple Glass” headset that’s long been rumored.

A recent report suggested that Apple’s VR headset could debut in the first quarter of 2022. However, that same report also said Apple is targeting a $500 price tag for the head-up display. We guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Are you excited at the prospect of an Apple VR headset? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Source: The Information