This article will highlight what we know so far about the Apple Reality Pro, Apple’s VR Headset. Looking at the Apple Reality One specifications, prices, delays, features and more.
The Apple MR headset will launch to consumers this Fall, 2023, after R&D issues like heat dispersion caused a delay in the announcement and production from shipment in 2022.
According to a recent report from the Taiwanese tech news outlet DigiTimes, Apple Reality One will use the Taiwanese Pegatron as its manufacturer. Further, production will allegedly begin in March 2023, producing 750,000 units for business customers. Interestingly, it has been leaked that a select number of app developers already have access to the Apple Reality One VR headset.
For Apple’s official announcement, Bloomberg reports it will be done in June 2023 at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference.
Regarding the price of the Apple headset, it looks to be in the range of $2,000 and $3,000 according to leading Apple insiders and analysts. The price aligns with Apple’s premium price structure and will also take into account increasing inflation creating higher production costs.
The Apple Reality One, Apple’s headset codenamed N301 will be a premium mixed reality headset. This means the headset will be able to act as a virtual reality headset as well as an augmented reality headset or do both simultaneously with a press of a button.
This VR functionality is expected due to the rumored display engines that will be used on the device allowing for an 8K viewing experience. Apple’s huge expenditure in LiDAR and cameras are expected to allow for spatial mapping, object detection and occlusion, face tracking and hand tracking. Even tracking the wearer’s legs.
It is speculated, from recent Apple patent filings, that the MR headset will come with a “thimble-like” add-on. This finger attachment will be placed on one of the wearer’s fingers, assisting with hand tracking in intricate actions such as scrolling pages and pricing up delicate 3D objects.
Additionally, Apple is reportedly working on an affordable follow-up VR headset codenamed “N602”, and an Apple Glass smart glass shown above, codenamed “N421”.
While a full-color video passthrough will also be featured in the Apple Reality One.
Apple is known for its high standards of industrial and minimalist design. This is why the novel design aesthetic of Apple Reality One will be a combination of aluminum, glass and carbon fiber. While prior leaks have indicated a fabric exterior to be on the N301. This is now confirmed to be the halo strap material to be the fabric seen on the sports edition Apple Watch wristband. A design that stands out and decreases the weight of the headset itself. Furthermore, reports indicate that the weight would land between 300 and 400 grams. Current estimates of the design from supposed back-door viewings show this headset design from The Information.
The Apple mixed reality headset will have a 3-display configuration. Two micro OLED 4K displays for each eye, totaling 8K, manufactured by Sony and a third AMOLED display engine for the wearer’s peripheral vision by LG. Further, the Field of View is said to be a staggering 120 degrees, which means the pixel density per degree will be 32 PPD per eye, the highest in any standalone headset to date!
Secondly, you don’t need to fiddle with finding the best visual center point, as the IPD adjustment will be automatic.
It is expected that the Apple Reality One headset will use Pancake optics technology like that found in the Pico 4, enabling a slimmer and lighter profile.
The Apple VR device will also be equipped with dynamic foveated rendering from integrated eye tracking, vastly improving the visual quality and crispness of the mixed reality experience.
Lastly, there will be a display on the vizor showing the emotions and expressions of the wearer. This is similar to Meta’s Reverse Passthrough, however a more crude version.
The Apple Reality One headset is expected to run on a fully purpose-built Apple operating system called Apple xrOS (internally codenamed Borealis at Apple), which will allow the maximum potential of the device to be found, as is often the case with Apple. The company is well known for building its operating system in tandem with its devices.
The use of the Apple rOS closed ecosystem will likely also lead to seamless integration with other Apple devices like the iPhone 14, iPad Pro and Macbooks making it more enticing for existing Apple users.
For comparison, most other VR headsets use a modified variant of Google’s Android operating system, soon to be its own augmented reality OS.
The Apple Reality One will have three processors running the device. An M2 SoC chipset that will be the most powerful chip ever found on a standalone VR device. An ISP chip meant for low latency video processing of the video passthrough, acting as the backbone of Reality One’s mixed reality capabilities. Finally, an H2 chip that provides ultra-low latency audio to paired AirPod Pros. Seemingly, alternative Bluetooth headphones don’t work as well. In general, the Apple VR headset will be equipped with the Apple M2 chip, providing 16GB of RAM.
Despite the Apple Reality One not having a headphone Jack, built-in speakers are found on the fabric halo strap.
To put this into context, other standalone headsets have struggled to deliver impressive specifications due to their limitations on processing. The Apple Silicon M2 chip means that the standalone Apple headset will be far superior in battery usage and processing efficiency. In fact, Apple is likely planning to incorporate this into their marketing, calling the headset’s processor a “Reality Processor” from recent trademark filings.
Apple’s mixed reality headset will feature WiFi 6, enabling a fully standalone experience while the headset off-loads some of its processing to a Mac, iPad, or iPhone wirelessly and with minimal latency.
In fact, the battery will come from a waist-mounted battery pack connected to the VR headset, similar to how the Magic Leap 2 draws its power.