We didn’t see the Apple AR/VR headset at WWDC, as some rumors initially claimed, but that doesn’t mean Cupertino isn’t working on it. Currently, the device is said to be unveiled next year. Yes, it seems a bit far off at the moment, but that hasn’t stopped inside information about it leaking and rumors spreading about it (especially on Twitter). Renowned Industry Analyst Ming Chi Kuo’ now has a piece of information about the upcoming AR/VR headset. Kuo states that the mixed reality headset will be able to switch smoothly between AR and VR.
Smooth switching between AR and VR may be coming to Apple’s debut mixed reality headset
According to Kuo’s tweet, Apple’s mixed reality headset offers its users an effortless switch between virtual reality and augmented reality modes. It certainly looks like it could be one of the main selling points for this device when it sees the light of day.
In short, rumors have long expected that Apple’s device would offer both AR and VR functionality. And this capability could make the headset an attractive purchase for many people.
While most of us know what an AR experience is and what a VR experience is, Kuo underlines that most people have a hard time imagining what kind of new experience a switch between those two modes could provide. He notes that this switching capability will be one of the headset’s main selling points.
Pretty much, not only does the hardware reportedly support both, but the mixed reality headset could potentially integrate AR and VR and switch smoothly for different scenarios. And that has led Kuo to refer to the headset as AR/MR one.
Now everyone knows what a VR experience is and what an AR experience can look like. But for most people, it’s hard to imagine what kind of innovative experience the smooth switching between AR and VR can provide, and it could be one of the main selling points of Apple’s headset.
— 郭明錤 (Ming-Chi Kuo) (@mingchikuo) June 12, 2022
If you don’t know much about any of these modes, let’s briefly explain which one it is. AR lets you see the real world and adds objects (that aren’t really there) for you to visualize. For example, you can use your phone to look around such objects (like using your iPhone on Apple’s website to visualize the latest iPhone in AR). On the other hand, VR completely blocks the existing world, taking you to another virtual environment with a VR headset.
And the coolest of all is a mixed reality headset, which understandably offers a mix of both experiences. An example of this is Microsoft’s HoloLens. Mixed reality headsets basically cover the VR on top of, say, your living room (the real world), making interacting with VR objects a more “realistic” experience. You can manipulate these objects, place objects in the ‘real world’ and interact with them.
Microsoft HoloLens 2 shows interaction with virtual objects placed on top of the real world, image source – Microsoft
It’s unclear at this point what exactly this switching between AR and VR means for the rumored Apple headset.
And when will the Apple device be announced? Well, Kuo currently believes that Apple’s mixed reality headset will hit shelves in the second quarter of 2023. The analyst has previously noted that an Apple event could be held in January 2023 to introduce the device to the world.
The headset has reportedly encountered some development delays, but despite this, it looks like it’s nearing completion. Expectations for it indicate that it might cost you some money, and more precisely, as much as $3,000, with Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman believed the device could cost more than $2,000.