| Cult of Mac

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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.

Apple’s AR/VR headset now rumored to launch in second half of 2023


Apple mixed reality headset
Another delay in Apple's AR headset launch.
Image: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Apple’s AR/VR headset might launch later than anticipated in 2023. Instead of a Q2 2023 debut, Apple might release the headset in the year’s second half.

The delay, reportedly due to “software-related issues,” will impact the AR/VR headset’s shipment numbers for the year.