5 reasons to get excited about the Apple VR/AR headset


An AI-generated image of Tim Cook wearing an Apple-branded VR headset.
We don't yet know what the Apple VR/AR headset will look like, but that doesn't mean it's too soon to get excited about it.
AI image: Midjourney/Cult of Mac

Multiple sources predict Apple will launch its first VR/AR headset three weeks from today at WWDC23. As the company’s first major new product category to launch since Apple Watch, there’s a lot riding on the headset. And yet not everyone’s buzzing with anticipation.

For those who aren’t yet feeling excited, here are five reasons you should look forward to the big reveal next month.

1. The founder of Oculus is excited

Someone who became a billionaire making VR headsets seems excited about Apple’s upcoming device. Palmer Luckey, founder of Oculus VR , said Sunday on Twitter, “The Apple headset is so good.”

Oculus is now a division of Meta, and is the current premier VR headset-maker.

Luckey didn’t explain whether he’d been given additional information on the product from Apple, or via some other sources. However, his short-but-unequivocal endorsement carries a lot of weight.

2. Ming-Chi Kuo is upbeat

A longtime Apple analyst also seems optimistic about Apple’s next big thing. “I think Apple is well prepared for the announcement of this new device,” TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo wrote Sunday in a post on Medium.

“The headset device will soon become the most important new investment trend in the consumer electronics sector if Apple’s AR/MR headset announcement is better than expected,” he added.

3. Early tester of Apple VR/AR headset is ‘blown away’

Recently, an anonymous tipster said they spoke with someone who had been able to test Apple prototypes several times and reportedly was “blown away” by the latest iteration of the headset. This is after finding earlier versions disappointing.

“The leap they’ve made since [late last year] is giant,” the source was quoted as saying. “I was so skeptical; now I’m blown away in a ‘take my money’ kind of way.”

4. Packed with high-end hardware

Apple’s VR/AR headset is the worst-kept secret in tech. Even CEO Tim Cook couldn’t resist dropping a hint about it in 2022. And a long series of leaks have revealed many of the most important details.

We might even know the name. The first model coming at WWDC23 supposedly will be called either Reality One or Reality Pro.

Tipsters say the device will sport three high-resolution displays, one of which will be external. It’ll be powered by a chip on par with the Apple M2 for cutting-edge performance. Many types of sensors will detect the wearer’s surroundings and their hands, and even scan their face.

5. Plenty of software available at launch

While the hardware certainly sounds cutting-edge, the headset will be a dud without a wide selection of useful software. Apple allegedly has that covered.

The headset reportedly will come with a range of applications for productivity, collaboration and plain ol’ fun. These will be displayed to the headset wearer in augmented reality as though they were floating in front of their eyes.

While the Apple VR/AR headset is expected to use a new operating system called xrOS, it seems the device will be able to run “millions” of iPadOS applications right out of the box.

And now for a dose of reality

Experts seem positive about the Apple VR/AR headset, and it’s apparently going to sport amazing hardware and software. But there’s one detail that’ll likely keep the device out of the reach of many potential customers: price. This could go as high as $3,000.

But this is only the first version — and seems very nearly a public beta test — with more affordable devices to follow.

We’ll know much more when Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference 2023 kicks off on June 5.


Daily round-ups or a weekly refresher, straight from Cult of Mac to your inbox.

  • The Weekender

    The week's best Apple news, reviews and how-tos from Cult of Mac, every Saturday morning. Our readers say: "Thank you guys for always posting cool stuff" -- Vaughn Nevins. "Very informative" -- Kenly Xavier.