In brief: Apple’s augmented and virtual reality efforts are still very much a mystery, but industry watchers are convinced the company’s first mixed-reality device will land in 2022. Not only that, but it could be accompanied by similar products from companies like Sony and Meta.
According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, the rumored AR/VR device has been in the pipeline for several years, and Apple may be closer to releasing it than previously expected. It also shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that it will be an expensive bit of kit, with most supply chain insiders hinting towards a $3,000 price tag.
Back in September, Apple reportedly finished the physical design for a dedicated system-on-a-chip for the new headset as well as two additional chips that will go inside it — the display driver and an advanced image sensor. Now that the new M1 Pro and M1 Max-powered MacBooks are out and making a good first impression, some have begun speculating about the gaming capabilities of the upcoming mixed-reality headset.
As we’ve already seen from several tests and benchmarks, Apple’s new custom chips are quite capable of handling professional workloads, but they’re not exactly suitable for gaming. Gurman claims the Cupertino giant wants the new mixed-reality device to be capable of high-quality VR gaming experiences, so the chipset that will power that should be able to render top-tier graphics on high-resolution 8K displays.
Separately, renowned analyst Ming Chi-Kuo said Apple’s upcoming mixed-reality headset will support Wi-Fi 6E for higher bandwidth and lower latency. This is important since all signs indicate the device will require tethering with an iPhone or Mac for more intensive tasks such as VR gaming.
Kuo believes Apple won’t be the only company to introduce an AR/VR device next year as it could be joined by Meta (formerly Facebook) and Sony, who will also leverage Wi-Fi 6E tech in their headsets. If these rumors are anything to go by, it looks like 2022 will be an interesting year for mixed-reality.