Apple might break into a new product category in 2022. The company reportedly will unveil its long-rumored virtual reality and augmented reality headset.
Over the years, Apple profoundly changed the smartphone, tablet, smartwatch and MP3 player markets, taking niche products mainstream. It’s possible it’s about to do the same for VR/AR.
Wait for Apple VR/AR headset could end in 2022
Details on the potential VR/AR headset have been leaking out for many months. Apple is apparently developing something with cutting-edge features but without as much bulk as its rivals, such as the Meta Quest.
Apple’s first foray into this product line reportedly will be a relatively slim, curved visor attached to the face via mesh materials, with switchable headbands. It could weigh as little as 0.33 pounds.
The device allegedly will have a pair of 4K micro-OLED displays — or maybe even 8K — and a chip on par with the Apple M1 in processing performance. Many types of sensors will detect the wearer’s surroundings and body motions.
All of this will be necessary to run high-end games, as well as provide realistic virtual experiences. And compete with Meta, of course.
The headset will supposedly offer virtual reality and augmented reality. AR overlays computer-generated images or text onto the real world. It’s different from virtual reality, which completely replaces the real world.
Unveiled in 2022
While several tipsters point to an Apple VR/AR headset being unveiled in 2022, it might not debut next year. In the past, when entering new product categories, the first entry reached customers months after the unveiling. A prime example is Apple Watch, which was announced in September 2014 and actually launched in April 2015.
The delay gives third-party developers time to write software for the product. And that’s going to be needed for the headset.
It’s possible Apple’s VR/AR headset will be the star of 2022’s Worldwide Developers Conference but won’t get to users until later in the year, or even 2023.
And the device is expected to be very expensive. It could even run as high as $3,000, according to one source. Others say it might cost $1,000. A name has yet to leak out.
Looking further forward
While the headset will allegedly be Apple’s first foray into the market, more products are on the way. Cupertino is also reportedly working on a pair of much slimmer augmented reality glasses.
The VR/AR headset is intended for in-home use. Or at a job site. The AR glasses will be worn anywhere, and will do the same tasks as an Apple Watch, but more.
But all the technology required to make this device as slim and lightweight as it would need to be successful doesn’t exist yet, or isn’t commercially viable. So it’s not coming out in 2022 — the wait might stretch out to 2025.