Apple's VR headset reportedly features an integrated fan, fabric design, and support for...


Posts: 6,648   +59
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Something to look forward to: Virtual reality as we know it has been around for a while, but it has only recently started to appeal to a more mainstream audience. According to a new report, Apple will join the party next year with a VR headset featuring an integrated fan and support for wearers of prescription lenses.

Thanks to games such as Half-Life: Alyx and high-end headsets, including the excellent Valve Index, we’re now seeing VR live up to its potential. There’s still a way to go, but its popularity could increase once Apple releases a VR-focused device next year, followed by an AR device in 2023.

According to Bloomberg, Apple has two headsets in the works. The first of these will be a VR set with AR capabilities. The plan is to include displays that have a higher resolution than those in current rivals. The Valve Index, for reference, has a 1440 × 1600 LCD panel for each eye for a combined total resolution of 2880 x 1600.

The VR headset, codenamed N301, has reportedly been tested with chips that outperform Apple’s lauded M1 processors, which sounds enticing. It’s a standalone device so you won’t need any extra hardware for power.

Those who find VR headsets make them sweat like they’re doing a workout will be happy to learn that Apple’s offering could have the perfect solution: an integrated fan to keep wearers cool.

One of the headset’s most innovative design features is its ability to accept custom prescription lenses over the screen. Most VR wearables leave a space between a user’s face and the display for glasses, but this gap could be removed if the lenses work as intended. Apple is still looking at exactly how this would be implemented and whether it would face regulatory rules.

To make the headset lighter, Apple is planning to use a fabric exterior. The device is also said to be more expensive than rivals—probably over $1,000—with insiders believing the company may only sell one headset per day per store.

The VR headset will reportedly be more of a niche product that prepares devs and consumers for Apple's AR glasses, codenamed N421, which may be unveiled in 2023.

Reports of Apple developing a VR headset go back to 2016. In 2019, we heard that Cupertino was working on two headsets launching in 2022 and 2023. Bloomberg’s report lines up with those dates, so next year could finally see Apple enter the virtual reality market.

Masthead image credit: Halfpoint

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Uncle Al

Posts: 8,001   +6,775
Definitely be interesting how the integrate eyeglass lenses especially if they are fitted to the outside. For higher prescription wearers distance from lens to eye can be critical but if it works it will be a big improvement .... as long as they aren't a typical over priced item ....


Posts: 122   +211
The article references the Valve Index, but the much less expensive HP Reverb G2 has an even higher resolution of 2160x2160 per eye. I have one, and even have snap-in prescription lenses for it. The real challenge is driving these displays at high framerates. It takes a lot of GPU power to push 90fps (kind of a bare minimum for comfortable VR) to what adds up to be more pixels than a 4K monitor. Especially with modern titles.

BTW...for AR devices, prescription lenses would need to be inboard. VR/AR displays emulate distance and demand the same from your eyes as normal, real-world distance viewing.
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Posts: 4,703   +5,102
I was interested in a QUEST 2 just for playing DCS: World.

The downside about VR is that the best model is always "coming out next year"


Posts: 4,478   +3,311
TechSpot Elite
I was interested in a QUEST 2 just for playing DCS: World.

The downside about VR is that the best model is always "coming out next year"
I skipped Quest 1 because I knew that a better stand-alone wireless headset is coming and I'll stick with the Quest 2 for a few years (it just arrived a week ago). I don't want to be tied to a PC to use VR.


Posts: 761   +672
If done right they could compete against Oculus/Facebook, but I feel they wouldn't want to price the device competitively, I feel at the time the iPad2 which was £400 was one of the best tablet devices you could buy at the time and good value. If Apple could price this at £300-400 similar to Oculus Quest 2 then they could be onto a winner. Apple has the hardware designers capiable of doing this but I don't know if they have the software engineers to do it properly, John Carmack has been a very good at working with Oculus's dev team to get the most power out of the Quest 1&2.