Technology

Apple’s first headset will focus on “high quality” games, a reporter claims

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Enlarge / An augmented reality demo from Apple.

In the past few days, two new reports have shed light on the specs and strategy behind Apple’s upcoming mixed reality headset. Both claim that Apple is on track to launch its first augmented reality / virtual reality headset as early as next year and that the product will feature ultra-high-end specifications and technologies.

In his weekly Bloomberg newsletter, reporter Mark Gurman says the new headset will have “advanced” chips, displays and sensors, as well as “avatar-based features”. This last point suggests that Apple has a similar vision of how the headset could be used as that of Meta, whose CEO Mark Zuckerberg has stated a vision of social networking through AR and VR experiences.

Gurman also writes that Apple’s first headset will be a mixed reality headset that supports both VR and AR applications. The long rumored AR glasses for consumers will come much later, “years later”. While there has been investment in research into AR technology, there are still numerous key technological barriers to mass market AR glasses for consumers, and it is unclear when all of these investments could translate into a viable mainstream product.

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In the meantime, the mixed reality headset, which could hit the market as early as next year, should “offer a mixed reality experience that can handle games in high-quality virtual reality with snappy chips and high-end displays”. It is likely extremely expensive and may only be available to well-off tech enthusiasts as well as developers who are starting to develop the first applications for a future consumer app ecosystem.

Meanwhile, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo released a report to investors that also claims that Apple plans to launch a high-tech, expensive mixed reality headset in 2022. He wrote that Facebook and Sony will be releasing their own mixed reality headsets that same year, but that Sony’s will be at least a VR headset, not an AR headset, to replace the hugely successful PlayStation VR peripheral for the company’s game consoles.

It also becomes a little bit more specific about an important specification for Apple’s headset: it will support the cutting-edge wireless networking standard, Wi-Fi 6E, he wrote. He also claimed that Sony and Meta headsets would support the same standard.

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