Published on December 1st, 2021 | by Emergent Enterprise0
Apple Headset Might be Announced at WWDC 2022
Is 2022 the year for an Apple mixed reality device? Lots of rumblings are being heard of advancements in the Apple Labs. It could have elements of truth and it could be another year of meh. If there is one huge positive sign in this report by Alejandro Medellin at InputMag it is that the Apple product would be a standalone device. Being tethered to an additional device, like many AR glasses are, makes the experience just that – like the user is chained to an anchor. Standalone devices, like the Meta Quest, give the user freedom and that is important in MR. If there is a bad sign it is that initial speculation states the Apple MR device could be $3,000! Ouch! Hopefully, this prediction is off target and there will be a more accessible price point. That high price could turn off even the most dedicated Apple brand advocate. Make it user-friendly (which Apple is great at) and user-affordable (which Apple is not always great at).
Photo: Concept render by Antonio DeRosa
With all the talk about the metaverse — a platform that Mark Zuckerberg thinks is the successor to the mobile internet — it seems Apple is ramping up efforts to release an AR headset of some sort that could allegedly replace the iPhone in 10 years.
Murmurs about Apple’s AR/VR glasses/headset project have been ongoing for years. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman and the TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo have both come out swinging with updates and timelines on Apple’s Next Big Thing.
What is the Apple headset?
Apple’s first headset is believed to be a standalone mixed reality headset capable of both virtual and augmented reality with a glasses-like form factor further down the line, according to Gurman.
Apple is reportedly making it possible to change out the lenses for prescription lenses. However, Gurman speculates that this could complicate things for Apple internationally, as selling a product with prescriptions is regulated differently across the world.
Will the Apple headset be powered by Apple silicon?
With Apple heavily investing in its own chips for iPhones, iPads, MacBooks and Mac desktops, there’s a clear pattern that would suggest its rumored headset would use custom silicon. Just a few days ago, Kuo wrote to investors that the headset will use a processor similar in performance to the M1, with a second co-processor handling sensor tracking.
Previous reports suggested Apple would wirelessly tether any AR/VR headset wirelessly to an iPhone. This is how other AR glasses like the Nreal Air work — they connect to a phones, which do all the processing. Tethering to a phone allows AR glasses to be lighter — and consequently — more comfortable on your face.
Considering how power efficient Apple silicon is, not needing to connect to an iPhone could be a real strength for Apple’s headset. Apple has always managed to do wonders with smaller batteries thanks to a combination of hardware and software optimization.