Although Apple’s VR/AR headset is still supposed to be a secret project, the company’s board of directors reportedly got a look at the device recently. This could be a sign the product is moving close to a release.
The long-rumored headset — which supposedly will offer both virtual reality and augmented reality capabilities — might be unveiled as soon as Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in June.
Apple VR/AR headset nears the end of development
Apple doesn’t break into new product categories very often. It’s last two attempts – AirPods and Apple Watch – have been very successful. And now it’s apparently ready to try again with a VR/AR headset.
After being in development for several years, “Apple Inc. executives previewed its upcoming mixed-reality headset to the company’s board last week, indicating that development of the device has reached an advanced stage,” reports Bloomberg.
This is not unprecedented. Apple’s board of directors occasionally gets an early look at upcoming products. The board’s role is to advise the company, and it sometimes needs insider information for that.
And it’s not like this was a security risk – Apple has never been able to keep its VR/AR headset development project a complete secret. Details have leaked out for years.
Validation tests and ‘rOS’
The virtual reality and augmented reality headset supposedly underwent engineering validation tests earlier this year. This showed the product was in the process of moving out of the lab and into production.
Apple could unveil the headset as early as June at WWDC22. Demoing the product to the Apple board at this point suggests that’s the plan. But the device won’t reach customers until later in the year, giving third-party developers time to write apps for it and the devices operating system, realityOS.
Today’s report from Bloomberg refers to the operating system as simply “rOS””
In recent weeks, Apple has also ramped up development of rOS — short for reality operating system — the software that will run on the headset, according to other people familiar with the work. That progress, coupled with the board presentation, suggests that the product’s debut could potentially come within the next several months.
Apple headset headed to store shelves soon?
When released, the first Apple VR/AR headset supposedly will benefit from a top-tier feature set. Tipsters say it will pack three high-res displays, one of which will be external. It’ll be built around a chip on par with the Apple M1 to power its performance. Many types of sensors will detect the wearer’s surroundings and body motions. And all this will go into a device without as much bulk as its rivals like Meta’s Oculus Quest 2.
As noted, the Apple headset supposedly will 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.
The high-end feature set reportedly will mean the headset comes with an equally high-end price.