Published on January 25th, 2021 | by Emergent Enterprise0
Apple’s First VR Headset Could be an Expensive Disappointment
It wouldn’t be right to start the new year without some rumors about Apple’s plans to release an AR or VR device. This time the chatter is about a VR headset that is meant to challenge Oculus Quest or Playstation. This article at Cult of Mac by Killian Bell shares the details (or the speculation?) about the possible features and specs for the device. With a predicted release time of 2022 there will undoubtedly be improvements to competitive devices so Apple appears to be relying on the strength of their brand and the loyalty of their customers to sell units. But, loyalty only goes so far before a product becomes a dust collector on the shelf. Apple will need to bring some type of differentiator to the table to make users pay the big money for a memorable VR experience.
Don’t expect too much from Apple’s first virtual reality headset. A new report warns that Cupertino’s first stab at a wearable VR system, which could come in 2022, will be expensive with a limited set of capabilities.
The device is believed to be designed primarily as a “niche precursor” to more ambitious AR/VR glasses that Apple plans to launch later.
Rumors surrounding Apple’s first AR/VR glasses have been circulating for several years now, while rivals like Facebook, HTC and Sony have already established places for themselves in the virtual reality space.
Devices like the Oculus and PlayStation VR have proven successful, thanks to their ability to give customers a new and more immersive (albeit more expensive) way to experience games and other content.
The whispers have only built up excitement for Apple’s take on a AR/VR wearable, but should we temper our expectations? According to reliable Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman, absolutely.
Apple’s first VR headset will be limited
Apple’s first headset, which could launch as early as next year, will focus mostly on virtual reality experiences, Gurman warns. And despite shipping with a limited feature set, it will still be wildly expensive.
“As a mostly virtual reality device, it will display an all-encompassing 3-D digital environment for gaming, watching video and communicating,” reads the report. “AR functionality, the ability to overlay images and information over a view of the real world, will be more limited.”
“The plans suggest that Apple’s first headset will be far more expensive than those from rivals, which cost about $300 to $900.”
The device could have some advantages. Gurman predicts it will pack displays with higher resolutions than those found in existing VR headsets, as well as chips that are even faster than the new M1 in the latest Macs.
Other features of the device, codenamed N301, include a built-in cooling fan and cameras that enable some augmented reality applications. However, it is in a late prototype stage now. The device’s final design and feature set remains to be finalized. Apple could even scrap it entirely.
Why would Apple make such a niche VR headset?
Apple reportedly doesn’t expect this device to be a revolution that changes virtual reality and augmented reality for the better. Instead, it’s designed to be a “precursor” to more ambitious products in the future. “Apple isn’t looking to create an iPhone-like hit for its first headset,” Gurman writes.