Mark Gurman details the Apple Reality Pro headset

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Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman has published a detailed report on Apple’s VR/AR headset. Let’s start with the name – it’s called Apple Reality Pro, and it’s likely to be announced at WWDC and sold in the US later this year for $3,000.

Apple aims to complete a seven-year project and a technology development team of more than 1,000 people on Reality Pro. The project is the first new category for Apple since the launch of the Apple Watch in 2015, and the company is taking a big financial gamble on success.

Reality Pro is made of aluminum, glass and cushions. Gurman calls it reminiscent of Apple’s AirPods Max. It will have a curved screen on the front that will display the wearer’s eyes. It has speakers on the sides and a head to attach it to the user’s head. The Reality Pro uses a modified version of Apple’s M2 processor and carries a battery in the wearer’s pocket, connected to the headset via a cable. The battery is the size of two stock iPhone 14 Pro Max batteries and lasts up to 2 hours.

The headset differs from competing products (such as Meta’s Quest Pro) in several key ways – it will have face and eye tracking, integrate VR (closed virtual environment) and AR (augmented real world), and have its own interface like an iPhone or phone. Serves as an iPad and video consumer device (for watching movies or as an external display for your Mac).

Reality Pro will have multiple external cameras that track your hands and sensors inside to track the user’s eyes. This means the headset knows where you’re looking and lets you interact with an iPhone-like 3D interface (called xrOS internally) with the pinch of your thumb and index finger. This means Apple Reality Pro doesn’t need physical controllers to function like other headsets.

The Reality Pro will have an Apple Watch-like digital crown that switches between VR and AR. Gurman says that when moving from virtual reality to augmented reality, the fully created environment is removed and the user is surrounded by the real environment. According to Gurman, Apple expects this to be the main feature of Reality Pro.

The next step is FaceTime. Reality Pro can realistically display a person’s face and full body in a virtual environment. In this way, two people can have a virtual reality conversation that seems closer to reality than a Meta cartoon. However, due to processing power requirements, Reality Pro will display all users as Memoji when there are more than two people on FaceTime.

Users can use Reality Pro as an external monitor for Mac. In this mode, users see the display in virtual reality, but still use their computer’s touchpad or mouse and physical keyboard.

Reality Pro can simulate watching a movie on a giant cinema screen in a fully simulated environment such as space or a desert. But the Reality Pro requires you to wear AirPods to get space audio.

Apple is preparing an in-store environment for users to try Reality Pro in Apple stores. According to Gurman, Apple is taking a long-term view of Reality Pro and doesn’t expect to profit from the first-generation product, even at a higher price.

Source (paywall)

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