AR/VR headsets

Cool new Vision Pro case is half the size of Apple’s

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Apple Vision Pro Travel Case and WaterField Designs Vision Pro Shield Case
WaterField's new Vision Pro carrying case is more compact than Apple's Travel Case, and it comes in more design choices.
Photo: WaterField Designs

Apple offers a $199 Travel Case as an accessory for its new Vision Pro spatial computing headset, but Waterfield Designs just came out with a much smaller and more portable one — the Vision Pro Shield Case.

The first production run of WaterField’s cool new case is already sold out, but you can order it now and it will ship on February 29, the company said.

Here’s why people are learning to love Apple Maps

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Apple Maps' use of 3D imagery led the way, but in other ways it trailed Google Maps.
Apple Maps' use of 3D imagery led the way, but in other ways it trailed Google Maps.
Photo: Apple

After its launch in 2012, Apple Maps performed so badly that Apple CEO Tim Cook actually apologized for the service and fired the company’s head of software (for the disastrous launch and other reasons). But now, many people actually choose Apple Maps over Google Maps and other services, according to a new report.

The internet won’t stop ragging on Vision Pro’s price tag

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Apple Vision Pro price tag: $3,499.
That $3,500 price tag certainly got people's attention.
Photo: Apple
WWDC23

The $3,499 price of Vision Pro, the long-awaited AR/VR headset Apple rolled out at WWDC23, startles some people. You can find audience reaction videos out there with audible gasps when the price was announced (including among Apple employees, some posts claim). And mainstream headlines are joining in, too.

And of course social media hasn’t let up on the jokey memes. See below for a few choice examples.

Apple buys AR headset startup Mira

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Mira headsets have been used in different industries, the military and in the Mario Kart ride at Super Nintendo World.
Mira headsets have been used in different industries, the military and in the Mario Kart ride at Super Nintendo World.
Photo: Mira

Just a day after Apple unveiled its Vision Pro AR/VR headset at WWDC23, news came along Tuesday that the company acquired Los Angeles-based AR headset startup Mira.

Mira makes headsets for other companies — notably Super Nintendo World theme parks — and holds contracts with the U.S. military.

Here’s your chance to work for Apple as an AI engineer

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Siri desperately needs some ChatGPT-like smarts
There's a lot Siri doesn't understand. And that's a problem.
Image: Apple/Cult of Mac

Want to make Siri smart again and help boost Apple’s artificial-intelligence chops across the board? A recent Apple job posting shows it seeks “machine-learning engineers with a background and/or interest in conversational and generative AI.”

“This role will play a critical part in helping Apple change the way humans learn about learning,” the listing noted.

Hard to say if the new engineers will inject more gray matter into Siri, but one source suggests they might work on device-based apps for Apple’s AR/VR headset, expected to show on Monday at WWDC23 Monday.

Meta squeezes in VR headset tease ahead of WWDC23

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Meta Quest 3 is
Meta Quest 3 is "coming this fall."
Photo: Meta
WWDC23

That’s some interesting timing on Meta’s press release Thursday for a VR headset not expected to come out until at least late September. Mark Zuckerberg and company wedged in a tease for Meta Quest 3 just four days ahead of WWDC23, when Apple is expected to unveil its much-anticipated AR/VR headset.

The Meta press materials even appropriated “we can’t wait,” one of Apple CEO Tim Cook’s trademark phrases.

Rumored 4K screens could let Apple VR/AR headset offer real world-like clarity

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Apple VR/AR headset concept from Ahmed Chenni
Apple's mixed-reality headset could pack seriously impressive micro OLED displays.
Concept: Ahmed Chenni/Freelancer.com

Rumored specs of the micro OLED panels Apple plans to use in its upcoming VR/AR headset indicate the device could deliver ultra-realistic clarity that makes virtual worlds look real.

The headset, which could be called “Reality Pro” or “Reality One,” will use two 1.41-inch micro OLEDs with a pixel density of 4,000 PPI, according to a respected display analyst.

Apple’s dream of lightweight AR glasses remains elusive

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Apple Glass concept from the Hacker 34.
The technology to make Apple AR glasses like these doesn't exist yet.
Concept: the Hacker 34
WWDC23

The VR/AR headset roughly the size of a pair of ski goggles that Apple is widely expected to introduce next month isn’t even close to CEO Tim Cook’s original goal for the project, according to info leaking from the company. Instead, Cook wanted a slim pair of AR glasses that could be worn all day,

As it stands now, that lightweight version of the product remains years away.

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

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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
WWDC23

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.

Apple VR/AR headset remains on course to launch at WWDC23

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Apple VR/AR headset concept created by Ahmed Chenni.
We might not be waiting much longer.
Concept: Ahmed Chenni/Freelancer.com

Production of Apple’s first VR/AR headset is in “the final sprint,” according to a new report out of Taiwan. This falls in line with earlier leaks indicating that Apple will unveil the device at its Worldwide Developers Conference in June.

The latest info even suggests the mixed-reality headset will begin shipping before the end of that month.

Can Apple’s ‘Reality’ headset spark an AR/VR revolution? [The CultCast]

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A woman wearing a VR headset, with The CultCast logo and Episode 591.
Many have tried to make AR/VR a sparkling reality. So far, nobody's nailed it. Can Apple?
Photo: Sara Kurig/Unsplash License/Modified by Cult of Mac
WWDC23

This week on Cult of Mac’s podcast: The latest leaks about Apple’s AR/VR headset — possibly called the “Reality” — get us thinking about real-world applications. Will this thing kick-start a mixed-reality revolution, or flop harder than the Pippin?

Also on The CultCast:

  • The new Apple Card Savings account pays high interest — and we’re definitely interested!
  • WWDC23 might bring additional new hardware beyond the headset.
  • It’s your last chance to snag a limited-edition Sunset Moment iPhone case from Pitaka.

Listen to this week’s episode of The CultCast in the Podcasts app or your favorite podcast app. (Be sure to subscribe and leave us a review if you like it!) Or watch the video live stream, embedded below.

Apple VR/AR headset might actually be good

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Apple VR/AR headset concept by Ahmed Chenni.
This concept might be very close the VR/AR headset that Apple unveils later in 2023.
Concept: Ahmed Chenni/Freelancer.com

Apple supposedly made great improvements in the software for its upcoming VR/AR headset recently. Someone who got a chance to test prototypes several times reportedly was “blown away” by the latest iteration, after finding earlier versions disappointing.

If true, this would help explain why Apple finally apparently stopped delaying the release of the product, which will combine virtual reality and augmented reality features.

The scramble to create killer apps for Apple’s AR/VR headset is on

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Apple VR/AR headset concept by Amin Jony.
Surprise: the Apple VR/AR headset might be able to run iPad apps right out of the box.
Concept: Amin Jony/Freelancer.com

There’ll be a lot more to Apple’s VR/AR headset than new hardware: an unconfirmed report leaks details on Apple’s plans for software. There’ll be games and fitness apps, a VR version of FaceTime and more.

That’s not surprising. What is eye-opening is the assertion that the headset will be able to run third-party iPad applications right out of the box.

Apple’s mixed-reality headset is about to get real [The CultCast]

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A woman wearing a VR headset outside, plus The CultCast logo.
There's no way anybody's gonna wear Apple's AR/VR headset outside, is there?
Photo: Thoroughly Reviewed/modified by Cult of Mac
WWDC23

This week on Cult of Mac’s podcast: The invites for WWDC23 just went out, so maybe … just maybe … we have a date certain upon which we will cast our eyes upon Apple’s mixed-reality headset. The more we hear about it, the more intrigued we are. And at least part of that is who in the devil will buy one of these things if they cost $3,000?!?

Also on The CultCast:

  • New features arrive in iOS 16.4, including Voice Isolation for iPhone calls.
  • This AI crap is getting creepier by the minute — even Woz and Elon Musk are spooked!
  • How to spot AI deepfakes.
  • We’ve got a nice magnetic iPad stand for this week’s giveaway.

Listen to this week’s episode of The CultCast in the Podcasts app or your favorite podcast app. (Be sure to subscribe and leave us a review if you like it!) Or watch the video live stream, embedded below.

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WWDC23 invite might hint at Apple VR headset

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WWDC23 invite might hint at Apple VR/AR headset
Maybe? Possibly.
Photo: Cult of Mac/Ian Zelbo
WWDC23

The colorful image Apple used Wednesday to invite developers to WWDC23 set off speculation that it’s a hint that the company’s long-awaited VR/AR headset will be unveiled at the June event.

It’s not impossible — Apple dropped a major hint into the invitation to the iPhone 14 launch event.

WWDC23 kicks off June 5 with online event

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Apple WWDC23 announcement
WWDC23 will happen June 5 through June 9, with loads of big announcements expected.
Image: Apple
WWDC23

The official invitation to Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference 2023 went out Wednesday, confirming we’ll get our first look at what’s on the company’s near-term agenda on June 5. Apple promises WWDC23 will bring an opportunity “to learn the latest about Apple platforms, technologies, and tools.”

In other words, expect new versions of iOS, macOS and more — including a possible first look at the company’s long-rumored AR/VR headset (along with the software that will power the device).

WWDC23 will kick off with a keynote on June 5 and run the rest of that week. Even in this post-pandemic world, the event will be mostly online. However, a fortunate few developers and students will be able to watch the video keynote from Apple Park.

A HomePod with special skills + Tim Cook’s VR power play [The CultCast]

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AI-generated image of a HomePod smart speaker with an embedded display.
No, the next-gen HomePod isn't gonna look like this. AI can't do everything! (At least not yet.)
Image: Midjourney/Cult of Mac

This week on Cult of Mac’s podcast: That old rumor about a HomePod with a built-in display for FaceTime calls and smart-home wizardry resurfaces. But this time, some fresh details make Erfon even more cranked up than usual about Apple’s smart speaker.

Also on The CultCast:

  • It sounds like Tim Cook pulled a power move on Apple’s design team to make sure the company foists an expensive AR/VR headset on the masses sooner rather than later. Who’s excited? Show of hands?!?
  • Apple TV+ racks up another Oscar, and Erfon is almost intrigued enough to resubscribe. (Especially if his “get three months free” trick works again.)
  • The baton’s about to wave on Apple Music Classical. We’re all quivering with excitement!

Listen to this week’s episode of The CultCast in the Podcasts app or your favorite podcast app. (Be sure to subscribe and leave us a review if you like it!) Or watch the video live stream, embedded below.

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Apple’s AR/VR headset could let you type in midair — but you might not want to

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Apple VR/AR headset concept created by Ahmed Chenni.
Text input options on Apple's Reality Pro headset could be interesting.
Concept: Ahmed Chenni/Freelancer.com

The in-air typing mode that Apple is testing for its first AR/VR headset sounds like a sci-fi dream — but at this point, it might be more of a nightmare. The feature reportedly has been “finicky in testing” on Apple’s latest secret prototypes.

For that reason, users might prefer to pair the headset to an iPhone for text input, according to Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman.

Second-gen Apple VR/AR headsets coming in 2025

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Apple VR/AR headset concept by Amin Jony.
Apple is allegedly prepping a product line of AR/VR headsets running xrOS.
Concept: Amin Jony/Freelancer.com

A new report from a reliable tipster indicates that the second-generation of Apple’s VR/AR headsets will launch in 2025. This will supposedly consist of two models.

But Apple still needs to get the first generation on the market, and it’s possible the release date for the product is slipping yet again.

Apple VR/AR headset likely will launch at WWDC23

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Apple VR/AR headset concept by Adriano Orbarissa
In a few months, we might finally know what Apple AR/VR headset actually looks like.
Concept: Adriano Orbarissa/Freelancer.com

Earlier reports that Apple’s VR/AR headset will launch this spring were apparently overly optimistic — the latest leak points to a debut at the company’s annual developers conference in June.

If so, it’s likely to overshadow the new iOS and macOS versions also coming at WWDC23. But that probably would have happened even if the device had been unveiled months earlier, as it’ll include a new operating system for third-party developers to write applications for.

You might actually want to wear this Apple VR/AR headset concept

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Apple VR/AR headset concept by Ahmed Chenni.
This concept might be very close to the VR/AR headset that Apple unveils later in 2023.
Concept: Ahmed Chenni/Freelancer.com

Those eager for their first glimpse at Apple’s VR/AR headset should check out a concept design that might well be our best look yet at a product supposedly coming later this year.

It’s heavily based on leaked info about the upcoming virtual reality/augmented reality device — possibly called the “Reality Pro” — but with style added.

5 ways Apple ‘Reality Pro’ VR headset will beat Meta’s

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Don’t expect the Apple VR headset to be the first step in re-creating Ready Player One by delivering a full metaverse.
The hardware for Apple's VR/AR headset might be better than science fiction.
Photo: Warner Bros. Entertainment

New leaked details about Apple’s upcoming VR headset show the company is learning from mistakes made by makers of rival devices. Most notably, it’s reportedly creating a headset — possibly called “Reality Pro” — that will offer more realistic avatars, and won’t require the user to hold controllers in their hands.

Here are five ways Apple’s not making the same errors as Meta and other companies.

Apple headset uses waist-mounted battery pack — new details emerge

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A virtual reality headset (not Apple's).
New details emerge about Apple's long-rumored AR/VR headset and how it will differ from competitors.
Photo: James Yarema/Unsplash License

After testing a version of Apple’s upcoming AR/VR headset with an internal battery, the company’s engineers have resorted to using a separate battery pack connected by a wire, according to a new report about the secret project.

Other technical details emerged Tuesday about the long-rumored headset as well. The cutting-edge device reportedly delivers a surprisingly short two-hour battery life. And it reportedly comes with an H2 chip to pair with AirPods Pro, a dual-chip architecture that supports more than a dozen built-in cameras, and an adjustable dial to turn VR on and off.

5 most exciting Apple products coming in 2023

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Apple logo with red background.
These are the Apple products to get excited about in 2023.
Image: Rajesh

Every year, Apple launches a handful of products that stand out from the competition. 2023 is going to be no different, but next year will be special for Apple in many ways.

The company could enter a new product category with its AR/VR headset, and the iPhone could get some major hardware upgrades. Below is a roundup of five Apple product launches to look forward to in 2023.

Why Apple’s VR headset won’t be the next iPhone

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Why Apple’s VR headset won’t be the next iPhone
Apple VR/AR headset won't be anywhere near as successful as the iPhone. But it is leading to something big.
Graphic: Cult of Mac/Minh Pham/Unsplash License

The AR/VR headset likely coming from Apple in 2023 will not be the company’s next smash hit. It will have fans, just not huge numbers of them.

But this first headset will be an important stepping stone toward an Apple device that will change the world.