Apple’s first foray into the virtual and augmented reality space seems imminent with rumors swirling about an upcoming mixed reality headset, possibly called the ‘Reality Pro’. According to insider sources, the Reality Pro is shaping up to be an innovative wearable that could give the VR/AR market a real run for its money.
A Comfortable, All-Day Wearable
For any headset to be adopted at a large scale, comfort is key. Thankfully, it looks like the Reality Pro will be lightweight, weighing in at only about 200g, with a breathable mesh material and an Apple Watch-inspired headband. On either side of the headset, there will be a button for controlling the headset, with one of them resembling the digital crown dial found on the Apple Watch.. Headset will not support a 3.5mm headphone jack, but will feature an H2 audio chip for low-latency connectivity with second-generation AirPods Pro and newer products, the Reality Pro seems destined to usher in a wireless future.
The Reality Pro’s display is rumored to feature two 4K Micro-OLED panels from Sony, with an insane 5,000 nits of brightness, as well as an external low-power display provided by Samsung for easy interaction with others while wearing the headset. These cutting-edge displays are expected to provide users with an immersive experience like never before.
Mixed Reality Capabilities: Switch Between VR and AR Modes
The Reality Pro headset will offer “mixed reality” applications that support both VR and AR effects, similar to Microsoft’s HoloLens. Users can easily switch between display modes using a physical dial. The headset will use a mixed Fresnel lens combination to provide a maximum field of view of 120 degrees, and will also support electric pupil distance adjustment, eye tracking, and focus rendering.
Advanced Tracking and Scanning: Optical Cameras and LiDAR Components
The device will be powered by an external battery pack that can be worn around the waist to reduce the user’s physical burden, and connected to the head-mounted device via a MagSafe magnetic cable. The headset will be equipped with several optical cameras and LiDAR components for tracking facial expressions, capturing body movements, and scanning 3D data of the environment. Rumors suggest that the Reality Pro will even have iris scanning functionality for identity verification.
OS: xrOS or realityOS and App Store
On the software side, the Reality Pro will run on Apple’s specialized “xrOS” or “realityOS” operating system for headsets. This system will have a UI interface similar to iOS or macOS and support running iOS and iPadOS apps in 2D mode. Apple will provide a new development kit for developers to createapps, and a separate App Store for the headset will be launched to offer games and applications to users. The popular VR game “Beat Saber” is rumored to be one of the first apps available on the Reality Pro and will be showcased at WWDC23.
Seamless Integration: Connect with Other Apple Devices
As a member of Apple’s ecosystem, the Reality Pro and its system will support various device connections, interactions, and data transfers. Users can type via iPhone and use the headset as a display for Mac devices, making it a versatile device for both personal and professional use.
While many questions remain unanswered, one thing is clear: if the Apple VR/AR Headset Reality Pro lives up to the rumors, it’ll be poised to transform the VR/AR landscape and usher mixed reality into the mainstream. We’ll have to wait for official word from Apple to know for sure, but the future is looking mighty exciting!