Apple executives show VR/AR headset to board, signaling advanced progress

Daniel Sims

Posts: 459   +18
Staff
In brief: Reports of Apple's work on virtual reality hardware go back several years. However, the latest information suggests that the company is close to having a tangible product to compete with offerings from Valve, HTC, Meta, and Sony.

On Thursday, anonymous sources told Bloomberg that Apple executives recently demonstrated a headset with VR and AR functionality to its board of directors. Reports over the last year have suggested that the Cupertino giant had to delay the device's unveiling, but this presentation indicates an advanced development stage. Apple could unveil the headset late this year or early next year and launch it later in 2023.

Earlier reports already provided many details of Apple's VR and mixed reality ambitions. The sector is supposed to be the next pillar of the company's hardware offerings, next to the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV, and Macs. Like its other devices, Apple VR/AR headsets will have a custom operating system — realityOS — with a standalone app store. Work on the new OS has recently escalated.

The headset the executives demonstrated — codenamed N301 — is said to be a high-end device that doesn't need to connect to a PC. It could sell for over $1,000 and contain chips in the same league as Apple's M1 Mac processors. That price aligns with the Valve Index and HTC Vive Pro 2, which require PC connections. The HTC Vive Flow and Oculus Quest 2 are portable and far cheaper, but N301 sounds significantly more powerful. Apple is reportedly planning an AR-only headset (N421) slated to launch sometime after the N301.

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QuantumPhysics

Posts: 6,308   +7,247
OK - great. But when can we buy it and what's the advantages of owning one?

Apple needs this to be a "leapfrog" product like the original iPhone was. They need to make something so advanced that no one even imagined it coming.

I need some AR glasses that're like Master Chief's view screen or sumthin'.
 
D

Dd663

It'll be absurdly overpriced, no doubt. But if it's shiny and it's made by Apple...
 

Squid Surprise

Posts: 5,335   +4,980
OK - great. But when can we buy it and what's the advantages of owning one?

Apple needs this to be a "leapfrog" product like the original iPhone was. They need to make something so advanced that no one even imagined it coming.

I need some AR glasses that're like Master Chief's view screen or sumthin'.
Apple doesn't NEED to do anything.... they are one of largest and most profitable companies in the world...

This would be huge for VR in general. Once the Apple ecosystem joins, that will exponentially increase the market for VR. Software and development on other stuff will increase, and maybe VR will become the medium everyone thought it would be years ago.
 

m4a4

Posts: 2,894   +3,704
TechSpot Elite
Apple doesn't NEED to do anything.... they are one of largest and most profitable companies in the world...

This would be huge for VR in general. Once the Apple ecosystem joins, that will exponentially increase the market for VR. Software and development on other stuff will increase, and maybe VR will become the medium everyone thought it would be years ago.
Eh, I'm not seeing it. One of the biggest potentials for VR/AR right now is for gaming, and Apple has actively been ignoring gamers. So why would they turn around and embrace them now?

Oculus has been doing great despite FB (and for good reason). Even with Apple's in-house chips (a short-term lead), I'm not seeing where they exponentially increase VR growth, especially long-term.
It'll probably end up like AppleTV, another smaller offering to choose from...
 

koblongata

Posts: 519   +287
Pretty much a display war, whoever delivers the best transparent high-res display will have the upper hand.
 

Squid Surprise

Posts: 5,335   +4,980
Eh, I'm not seeing it. One of the biggest potentials for VR/AR right now is for gaming, and Apple has actively been ignoring gamers. So why would they turn around and embrace them now?

Oculus has been doing great despite FB (and for good reason). Even with Apple's in-house chips (a short-term lead), I'm not seeing where they exponentially increase VR growth, especially long-term.
It'll probably end up like AppleTV, another smaller offering to choose from...
Apple Arcade… it’s actually growing quite quickly… you don’t think that they’ll incorporate VR into it?

Apple HAS embraced gaming - they’ve seen that mobile gaming is HUGE and they have an enormous ecosystem taking advantage of it - and taking in 30% of the profits!
 

Lounds

Posts: 1,122   +1,027
It'll be overpriced but if it means more devs make apps and games for it then it means more ports to other VR systems.

Meta still has John Carmack and he's helped them loads in terms of development, so I still feel whatever apple releases Meta will make another product that will rival it with extra features that Apple won't have thought of.
 

m4a4

Posts: 2,894   +3,704
TechSpot Elite
Apple Arcade… it’s actually growing quite quickly… you don’t think that they’ll incorporate VR into it?

Apple HAS embraced gaming - they’ve seen that mobile gaming is HUGE and they have an enormous ecosystem taking advantage of it - and taking in 30% of the profits!
LOL, just look at their mac side if you want to see how "serious" they are towards gamers. And mobile porting doesn't count, especially when comparing to full games that other platforms get (Switch maybe being the exception).

So no, they haven't embraced gaming. That's laughable. They've embraced mobile games, as that one is easy to milk for Apple.

And keep in mind that VR is more for the diehard gamers (because of the extra hardware to play it at home), not the casual gamers. How do you reconcile that beyond all the Apple diehard's purchases?
 

Squid Surprise

Posts: 5,335   +4,980
LOL, just look at their mac side if you want to see how "serious" they are towards gamers. And mobile porting doesn't count, especially when comparing to full games that other platforms get (Switch maybe being the exception).

So no, they haven't embraced gaming. That's laughable. They've embraced mobile games, as that one is easy to milk for Apple.

And keep in mind that VR is more for the diehard gamers (because of the extra hardware to play it at home), not the casual gamers. How do you reconcile that beyond the Apple diehard purchases?
Because it's thinking like yours that needs to change... mobile gaming certainly DOES count! And with Apple's M1 processor (and by the time their VR headset is released, perhaps M2 or M3), those games WILL be able to incorporate VR.

Mobile gaming is responsible for more than half of the gaming revenue that comes in now. PC and consoles are being left behind. Apple certainly sees this - and has adjusted accordingly.
 

m4a4

Posts: 2,894   +3,704
TechSpot Elite
Because it's thinking like yours that needs to change... mobile gaming certainly DOES count! And with Apple's M1 processor (and by the time their VR headset is released, perhaps M2 or M3), those games WILL be able to incorporate VR.

Mobile gaming is responsible for more than half of the gaming revenue that comes in now. PC and consoles are being left behind. Apple certainly sees this - and has adjusted accordingly.
Let me know when I can play the new DOOM games (or many other AAA games) on mac without workarounds, and I'll take your "Apple cares about gaming" delusion seriously 😂

In the meantime, don't pretend that the vast majority of mobile games are on par with AAA console/PC gaming. There might be a few exceptions, but it's not the rule. And the fact that you're trying to convince me otherwise just shows that you can't see the difference in realities (virtual or not lol) because of some misplaced infatuation with a trillion dollar company.

As I said, Apple doesn't care about gaming, they care about making a profit from mobile games. And unless they change that, Apple VR will be no different.
 

Squid Surprise

Posts: 5,335   +4,980
Let me know when I can play the new DOOM games (or many other AAA games) on mac without workarounds, and I'll take your "Apple cares about gaming" delusion seriously 😂

In the meantime, don't pretend that the vast majority of mobile games are on par with AAA console/PC gaming. There might be a few exceptions, but it's not the rule. And the fact that you're trying to convince me otherwise just shows that you can't see the difference in realities (virtual or not lol) because of some misplaced infatuation with a trillion dollar company.

As I said, Apple doesn't care about gaming, they care about making a profit from mobile games. And unless they change that, Apple VR will be no different.
Whether a AAA PC game is "on par" with a mobile game is subjective... many would argue that many mobile games are more fun... and MAC is not the platform we are talking about here... we are talking iOS.

People vote with their wallets: and mobile is where it's at.
 

m4a4

Posts: 2,894   +3,704
TechSpot Elite
Apple HAS embraced gaming
and MAC is not the platform we are talking about here... we are talking iOS.
LOL we're talking about Apple and gaming.

Not talking about mac? It's a part of the Apple ecosystem and completely neglected when it comes to gaming 😂
But man, if you have to resort to excluding it to feel good about your weak defense, then we're done here.

So, thanks for the laugh. But no one (besides fanboys) will take you seriously when you say Apple has embraced gaming, especially when you only think it counts on iOS but not mac. And I don't see that changing with their VR.
 

Squid Surprise

Posts: 5,335   +4,980
LOL we're talking about Apple and gaming.

Not talking about mac? It's a part of the Apple ecosystem and completely neglected when it comes to gaming 😂
But man, if you have to resort to excluding it to feel good about your weak defense, then we're done here.

So, thanks for the laugh. But no one (besides fanboys) will take you seriously when you say Apple has embraced gaming when you imply iOS and exclude mac. And I don't see that changing with their VR.
Check Apple's sales when it comes to MacOS vs iOS.... Macs are generally sold for content creators and "casual users"...

Accusing me of "excluding" MacOS (who makes up less than 10% of the PC market) sounds kind of funny after you just excluded the entire mobile platform - which, again, is responsible for more than half of all gaming revenue!!

Asking Apple to "embrace" gaming on MacOS is silly - they already have an OS for that... iOS!

People keep thinking of mobile games as simply things a single person could code in a few hours... and yes, there are a few games like that (they also exist for PC!). But the successful mobile games nowadays have multi-million dollar budgets and take advantage of the fairly robust hardware out there.

Check out the newest mobile CPUs - not just Apple's M1/A15, but Qualcomm's latest Snapdragons... These processors are far more powerful than what the first few generations of consoles were capable of!

And the gap is only narrowing! By 2023, when this VR headset is set to be released, plenty of mobile devices will be able to support VR almost as well as any PC or console - and with far greater convenience.

Apple has seen this coming - so has Nintendo, Valve and more... stay stagnant and go extinct.
 

defaultluser

Posts: 412   +333
Maybe Apple can motivate Valve to count to 3.


It's going to take more than that to force Valve to revive it's now dead VR department!

The lack of any actual steering management inside valve means the kids are more likely to go for the "new hotness", than learn how to Sequel. But because of this, I expect the Steam Deck to be just as quickly-abandoned as the Index was!