Apple Reality Pro AR/VR headset information dump reveals an iOS-like interface, advanced eye tracking, and close to US$3000 price

Apple Reality Pro AR/VR headset information dump reveals an iOS-like interface, advanced eye tracking, and close to US$3000 price

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Apple's mixed reality "Reality Pro" headset will reportedly use external battery packs. (Source: Antonio De Rosa)
Apple’s mixed reality “Reality Pro” headset will reportedly use external battery packs. (Source: Antonio De Rosa)

Apple’s first mixed reality headset is rumored to release this year. According to the latest report by Bloomberg, the device will feature an interface that is practically identical to iOS/iPadOS, advanced hand and eye tracking, a breath of video calling features, and up to 2 hours of runtime on a single charge.

Rumors regarding Apple’s first AR/VR headset has been swirling around for quite some time. Cupertino’s debut mixed reality device is expected to release sometime this year. Mark Gurman has now dumped a boatload of information on Bloomberg regarding the functionality, software ecosystem, and other capabilities of the mixed reality headset also termed “Reality Pro” by some.

For starters, Apple Reality Pro could have both AR and VR modes. Users will be able to switch between the two on the fly thanks to on-headset controls. Akin to Microsoft Hololens, the AR mode on the Apple Reality Pro will overlay virtual objects on a real-world scene while the VR mode works by completely cutting off the outside world for a virtual one.

Driving the headset is the purported xrOS that, according to Bloomberg, has an interface that is in line with iOS and iPadOS. So, you can expect a standard grid of app icons on the home screen. Similarly, Apple is also reportedly porting many iPhone and iPad features over to its mixed-reality device. Apps like Safari, Apple Music, Podcasts, etc will make an appearance on the Reality Pro. Users could also be able to get third-party apps from a separate app store.

Additionally, Apple Reality Pro also apparently functions as a secondary/external display for Macs with the users being able to control the machine through a keyboard/mouse. Talking about controls, Bloomberg suggests that the headset won’t require a separate controller, as the inputs are either handled by hand gestures or a connected device like an iPhone/Mac. Voice typing through Siri is also reportedly supported.

In the absence of a hardware controller, the Apple Reality Pro headset allegedly employs cameras to track eye and hand movements. This movement tracking allows users to simply select an on-screen element by focusing on it and interact with it using hand gestures. The lack of a hardware controller has the potential to make UI interactions clunky but if Apple can get this right it may prove to be a major selling point for the headset.

Rounding off the hardware information is the purported inclusion of external power packs, an option for prescription lenses, and built-in speakers, though Apple could recommend AirPods for an optimal listening experience. Additionally, the report claims up to 2 hours of run time per battery pack that is similar in size to two iPhone 14 Pro Max devices placed on top of each other.

Moving on to Apple’s content plans for the Reality Pro, Bloomberg maintains that the company is collaborating with media giants like Disney as well as porting Apple TV+ shows to the AR device with the aim of letting users view the media on large virtual screens. Extensive video calling features are also presumably in the pipeline as the Reality Pro is expected to display avatars for one-on-one FaceTime chats. Interactive environments will have full body/face reconstruction in the virtual realm.

Finally, Apple is said to offer public hands-on of the headset inside the Apple Stores once the Reality Pro becomes available this year. The exact pricing remains unknown, but Bloomberg suggests a rate close to US$3,000.

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