It’s up there with the most long-rumored of all Apple products yet to be unveiled, but we’re drawing ever closer to the Cupertino company lifting the lid off its virtual reality and augmented reality devices.
And, in what may come as a surprise to those not closely following Apple’s development in the space, we may soon have as many as three Apple VR and/or AR headsets to play with.
That’s according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman (opens in new tab), often reliably familiar with Apple’s forward plans. He states that there are at least three headsets in development, under the product codenames N301, N602 and N421.
The first of the three, N301, is likely to be the first to be unveiled and is expected to launch as the “Apple Reality Pro”, based on previous trademark filings. This device is likely the one most VR enthusiasts have been expecting – a high-end virtual reality headset designed to take on the upcoming Meta Quest Pro, the device from Mark Zuckerberg’s company previously known as Facebook.
It’s expected to be powered by the “Reality Processor”, also previously spotted under a trademark filing, and said to be based on the chip architecture seen in the latest MacBook Pro lineup, with performance comparable to what’s seen from the M1 Pro chips. 4K micro-OLED displays, Wi-Fi 6e connectivity, and hand tracking are all also touted for inclusion.
VR and AR for all?
As for the other listed devices, the expectation is that the N602 device is a more affordable follow-up to the Reality Pro, called the Reality One. Without even a release window for the high-end model though, expect a lengthy wait for any such “entry” level device to appear. Apple will be looking to maximize its sales of the first pricier device first.
Finally, the N421 is thought to be the augmented reality part of the puzzle – glasses with the ability to not only display visuals in digital spaces but to overlay graphical features onto the real world around a wearer. While the wearable hardware around this device remains a mystery, the software building blocks have been in place for a number of years now, with Apple letting developers go wild with ARKit for iPhone and iPad. Again, its release is still to be determined.
But the Apple Reality Pro virtual reality headset could land far sooner than anticipated, with analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggesting a January 2023 unveiling.
With the iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Pro and Apple Watch Series 8, and Apple Watch Pro all expected to have launched in the few months prior to the start of 2023, it could prove an incredibly expensive period for the Apple die-hard then – anyone expecting an Apple VR headset to land at less than the $3,000 dollar mark might need to take a hammer to their piggy bank – and those of their buddies, too.