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This article was published on April 1, 2021

Everything we know about Apple’s upcoming mixed reality headset (Updated)

Coming in 2022

Everything we know about Apple’s upcoming mixed reality headset (Updated)
Ivan Mehta
Story by

Ivan Mehta

Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh." Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh."

Update (01/11/2021): Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman said in his PowerOn newsletter that Apple is planning to reveal its pricy mixed reality headset “with advanced chips, displays, sensor, and avatar-based features as early as next year.”

It’s no secret that Apple’s investing in mixed reality. After introducing LiDAR sensors in iPhones and iPad, it seems the company’s readying to release a standalone device in the coming months, Bloomberg reports.

The publication’s Mark Gurman noted that the Cupertino-based tech giant is planning to release a mixed reality headset in a few months through an in-person event. He added that Apple would like to show off its first major device since 2015 to media and developers, and let them experience it.

This is not the first time we’re hearing about the company’s mixed reality headset. Last month, renowned Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said that the company is aiming to release the device by mid-2022, followed by an AR headset in 2025.

In January, Bloomberg claimed that the upcoming hardware will be a (mostly)“ virtual reality device,” something akin to products from Oculus and HTC — but far costlier. The report also said that Apple’s headset will have advanced chipsets (similar to its M1 processor), a high-resolution display, and cooling tech.

Of course, Apple might chop and change some of these features by the time it finalizes the design. The company is aiming to release the MR headset as a standalone device, instead of tethering it to a Mac for power and processing.

This would make it a more attractive offering for people to move around the house and use it.

Credit: The Information
Representative drawing of Apple’s MR headset

People familiar with the matter told Bloomberg that the company aims to use fabric in the outer parts of the headset to reduce the weight. In February, The Information reported that Apple’s headset would have Apple Watch-style swappable headbands, in addition to the mesh fabric on the outside.

The publication also noted that the company aims to include spatial audio, and up to a dozen cameras and LiDAR sensors for hand tracking and AR functionality. The company is mulling over various methods of control. This includes a dial on the headset, thimble-like finger attachments, as well as hand and eye-tracking.

Apple’s first headset won’t come cheap. The Information said that it will be priced around $3,000, which doesn’t seem outrageous if you compare it with the Microsoft Hololens 2’s $3,500 price tag.

The actual launch of the headset might be at least a few months away. However, Apple would likely announce some extensions and new APIs for ARKit at WWDC, so we could gauge the direction of Apple’s AR ambitions.

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