Rumours for Apple's AR headset look to be in full swing, and as such the first thing we'd love to know is a release date.
The rumour mill has been turning for the last few months and we're seeing more exciting snippets of information emerge as the days go by, with leaks concerning its displays, the design, and so much more besides.
Here's everything we know so far about Apple's upcoming AR headset.
Apple AR Headset Release Date Speculation
An Apple AR/ VR headset is still very much at the rumour and gossip stage, and of course, that means that we can only speculate on when the release date will be. However, we're hard at work looking out for any hints about when we may see it, and what it may bring to the table.
All has been fairly quiet as of late, aside from the release of the Meta Quest Pro that is, but there are some nuggets of information that we can look at...
We've seen claims from the likes of DigiTimes and even Analyst Brad Lynch, that pointed to a release as early as 2022, with Mark Gurman at Bloomberg and analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claiming we are more likely to see a reveal instead.
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However, according to a recent report, Apple might start mass production of the AR headsets around March 2023. The prediction is based on the status quo of the manufacturing process, which hints at increased production and an unveiling event.
The same report by DigiTimes also mentions that Pegatron is the exclusive partner for the final assembly of the product.
Interestingly, Mark Gunman in a recent Bloomberg appearance said that Apple might release its first Mixed Reality headset in 2023. He further said that the headset may be named 'Reality One' or 'Reality Pro'.
Gunman went on to add that Apple is looking to rename the XR operating system to 'xrOS'.
The rumour mill doesn't stop there though. There are also reports that claim a new, unnamed insider has revealed that the Apple AR headset has been delayed, with the headset now potentially hitting stores in late 2023 rather than in the first half of the year.
However, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman in his PowerOn newsletter claims that Apple intends to announce the AR headset in spring, ahead of WWDC in June, then later go on sale in June.
In the latest report by Gurman in Bloomberg, Apple may release a lower-cost version of its mixed reality glasses in 2024 or early 2025. Meanwhile, the plans for the AR glasses have been put on hold for now.
Take this information with a pinch of salt for now though as nothing has been officially confirmed by Apple, so any information out there right now regarding the release date is simply a rumour.
Apple AR Headset Specs
As with the release date, there has been no official word on specs for Apple's AR headset, but some reputable analysts have provided us with an inkling of what to potentially expect.
How long can you use Apple AR for?
Recent reports have indicated that despite the lightweight design of the device, users may not be able to wear it for extended periods.
According to WCCFTech, the Apple AR Headset is tailored with short purposeful usage in mind, rather than endless scrolling.
Mark Gurman has concurred with this notion, noting that the headset is not designed as all-day device".
In recent years, new features have been introduced on social media to combat such behaviour, but whether Apple places limiters on the usage is yet to be seen and perhaps fairly unlikely.
MacRumors looks to have obtained some intriguing concept renders for what the Apple AR Headset could look like, and in our eyes, it does look pretty sleek. Take a look below:
They are provided by concept maker Ian Zelbo and are sourced from an earlier story from The Information which stated the headset will have a "sleek, curved visor attached to the face by a mesh material and swappable headbands", in accordance with a 'late-stage prototype'.
The publication has also revealed more recently a slew of additional details we could potentially see arrive with Apple AR. For instance, it's now rumoured to feature a waist-mounted battery, an aluminium, glass, and carbon fibre build, a digital crown-like dial to transition between the virtual and physical world, plus much more.
This looks to follow similar design cues to some of Apple's most recent products such as the AirPods Max which offer a similar mesh around the earcups and headband.
If the actual product looks similar to the render, it could make the Apple AR Headset one of the best-looking VR headsets out there and cement it as more of a lifestyle device than something for enterprise use, in comparison to what the Microsoft HoloLens 2 looks like, for instance.
The same report from The Information also detailed how those headbands could be swappable, with one offering a separate battery to go alongside the internal one and increase battery life, whilst another would allow for spatial audio as the AirPods Pro has.
They also noted that they could arrive in different colours, like the AirPods Max has, too and be made of the same material as Apple Watch Sport straps.
Mark Gurman has also described the upcoming headset as having a "complex, expensive-to-build design, complete with interchangeable lenses," which certainly suggests it will be a rather high-spec headset.
This point of the Apple AR Headset being high-spec is also backed up by analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has stated it will have "the same computing power level as the Mac" with two processors - a higher-end one with M1-like power, and a second, lower-spec one for sensor computing.
A tweet from analyst Brad Lynch also supports this and suggests that the new Apple AR headset will include two processors.
However, more recent reports and The Information have suggested that the new AR headset could feature the new Apple M2 chip, perhaps two of them. It's also rumoured it will have an ultra-low latency to establish a connection with the second-generation AirPods Pro and future AirPods models.
Ming-Chi Kuo has also stated it will have two Sony 4K Micro OLED displays for possible VR usage. If this is the case, then Apple could be utilising the panels from Sony's 8K VR headset prototype that was recently unveiled which will offer a low-latency and more detailed VR experience.
A rumour from The Elec has concurred with the fact the headset could have Micro OLED displays as well as a resolution of up to 3000ppi, which would make it rather powerful.
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More recently also, Korean news outlet ET News has agreed with this in part, stating Apple's headset may have Micro OLED displays supplied by TSMC, as opposed to Sony.
However, another rumour had stated Apple's headset will apparently feature a triple display set up according to a recent research report from analyst Ross Young.
Two will be Micro OLED panels, while one will be an AMOLED display and used for peripheral vision. Sony is set to provide the Micro OLED displays that the headset, according to Young.
Gurman's Power On newsletter from 5th December 2021 (via 9To5Mac) has also provided some intriguing leaked information about the Apple AR Headset with talk of it being a multi-purpose device for communication, gaming and media consumption, and has offered more info on specs, as a result.
He has concurred with Ming-Chi Kuo's notion of it having powerful displays, as well as further suggesting that gaming will be one of the device's top priorities, stating it will have "multiple processors, a fan, extremely high-resolution displays and its own App Store" to back this up.
This is expected to come wrapped up in the headset's own operating system, known as rOS, which stands for Reality Operating System. In addition, rOS is expected to allow the AR Headset is to integrate into existing Apple devices like Apple Arcade and Apple TV+.
On the point of rOS, app developers Rens Verhoeven and Steve Troughton-Smith have noted that realityOS has been referenced within Apple's App Store source code, which may indicate the headset is becoming more of a reality as time passes.
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In addition, Mark Gurman has noted that the development codename for rOS has been Oak, which may indicate rOS is the actual name Apple is intending to use.
A recent Trendforce report has noted Apple could bring in a subscription service to its AR Headset, or as they describe it, a "monthly subscription-based software solution".
For its power supply, the AR Headset is supposedly going to utilise the same 96W power supply as the 2021 MacBook Pro, according to Ming-Chi Kuo (via GSM Arena). What this could mean is that it will carry similar levels of power, possibly supporting fast charging.
There has also been the suggestion that you won't need to pair the headset up with any other Apple devices in order for it to work. However, this is a point of contention as a story from The Information suggests you will need to pair it up with an iPhone for it to work.
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In a broader context, there has also been the suggestion that the release of Apple's AR Headset is the first step as part of a wider decade-long plan to replace the iPhone with AR tech, but all of this of course remains to be seen.
A recent patent has also possibly indicated that the headset may also have the ability to receive audio from AirPods through either Bluetooth or an optical manner like RF, for instance. This may allow for some more immersive Spatial Audio experiences, for example.
A recent note to Apple investors from Ming-Chi Kuo has stated that Apple's AR headset will weigh between 300 and 400g and will be able to "seamlessly switch between AR and VR to provide an innovative headset experience" which sounds promising.
Intriguingly, in another note to investors, Ming-Chi Kuo stated that prototypes of the device weigh between 200 and 300g, to reduce it to between 100-200g once technical issues have been solved.
This would make the Apple AR Headset one of the lightest devices of its type around and would be comparable to the likes of the upcoming Magic Leap 2, which is confirmed to weigh around 250g.
Hand tracking is also set to be a key part of the Apple AR Headset experience thanks to four 3D sensors according to Ming Chi-Kuo (via The Verge), as opposed to the single sensor present on iPhones.
These sensors will form the basis of the headset's human-machine interface that, according to Kuo, will allow for not only hand tracking but also eye tracking, iris recognition, expression detection, spatial detection, skin detection and voice control.
Mark Gurman (via MacRumors) has also recently discussed the potential implementation of key FaceTime features such as Memojis and SharePlay within rOS that could take advantage of the headset's eye and face tracking ability to make meetings more lifelike.
Moreover, Apple has been said to be working on a myriad of control methods that reportedly includes a "thimble-like device to be worn on a person's finger", which would suggest a small remote control.
Back in March 2021, Ming Chi-Kuo (via 9To5Mac) also stated the headset is likely to feature 15 optical modules for enhanced biometrics and some powerful AR experiences.
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Mark Gurman has noted that the idea of a metaverse is "off limits" for Apple, suggesting their AR Headset will keep firmly in the real world, as opposed to a virtual one.
Contrasting this though is a recent Weibo post from the founder of Chinese phone manufacturer Meizu, Li Nan (via GizmoChina).
He's said that those who still "had doubts" regarding the metaverse need not worry as Apple's '8K glasses', assumed to be the headset, could allow users to access a virtual world.
As per the latest report by Mark Gurman on BBC, Apple's new 'RealityPro' headset will have advanced hand tracking with several external cameras. This means wearers might not need external controllers.
Further, the MR device will also have sensors that can read your eyes. So, to pick something up, the wearer would only have to look at it and "pinch" it to trigger it active.
There have also been suggestions that the device will have WiFi 6E support alongside a see-through AR mode. In short, Wi-Fi 6E will offer the power of Wi-Fi 6 including faster speeds and lower latency but extended into the 6GHz band.
This allows also for increased bandwidth and less chance of interference, which will be particularly handy if the Apple AR Headset works wirelessly.
It is likely to be a lifestyle device given the design cues too, and could well cement itself as one of the best VR headsets around when it launches, especially given its vast list of touted features.
On the notion of use cases also, the recent iOS 15.4 beta for Safari has indicated wider support for experimental WebXR features, including WebXR Device API, according to Maximiliano Firtman.
He has noted that it isn't clear as to how the API will interact with Apple's iPad or iPhone devices, with it being engineered to work with external devices, like the Apple AR Headset, as Firtman has suggested, stating that this could be essentially laying down some important groundwork.
Speaking of groundwork, there is also the argument that the development of ARKit for iOS back in 2017 can be seen as the impetus for the AR Headset's development.
To most, Apple's future AR headset is simply known as just that, but in a recent Power On Newsletter, Mark Gurman suggested a couple of other product names Apple may use.
The most likely of these include Apple Vision, Apple Reality (which was also Gurman's initial guess on what the device may be called), and Apple Sight, although others he has suggested include Apple Goggles or even just Apple AR.
Gurman has also pointed out that finding the product name before its release is likely to be difficult as Apple has taken to registering their trademarks in other nations to avoid sleuths finding it out beforehand.
Other key information
The Bank of America CEO has referred to the device as a "gamechanger" (via Forbes) which looks in part to confirm the idea of it being a powerful device, and more integrally, one for investors to get excited about, as Apple stock does look to have risen since this remark.
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In a bid to bolster their AR output, Apple has also reportedly hired Meta's communications chief Andrea Schubert, according to Mark Gurman (via 9To5Mac), which certainly looks to give Apple's AR Headset some good credentials, and could help it along with some high specs.
On the note of important hires, a recent report has suggested that some Meta employees are defecting to Apple, and to keep hold of their existing engineers, Apple has reportedly been offering their engineers sizeable bonuses to stay.
Apple AR Headset price speculation
On the front of pricing, it's much the same story. There has been no official word from Apple just yet, but a story from The Information (via Tom's Guide) has suggested a price tag north of $3000, yet Ming-Chi Kuo has touted a price tag of $1000.
In addition, a recent TrendForce report looks to concur with the original pricing touted by The Information with the suggestion that the Apple AR Headset "may adopt the same pricing strategy as HoloLens" with a price in the "thousands of dollars".
Intriguingly, a note to investors from Ami Daryanani has suggested that in its fifth year of being on the market Apple could garner over $18 billion in potential revenue for the headset.
Mark Gurman has suggested that Apple has internally pointed to a price of $2000 or higher, given the premium nature of the device, which may seem a little absurd at first.
Recent reports have supported this, also suggesting that the upcoming Apple AR Headset will cost over $2000.
However, it is worth noting that if the Apple AR Headset is going to compete with options like Microsoft's HoloLens 2 at $3500, then maybe it doesn't seem too impossible for it to be priced so highly.
It's also worth noting that the AR Headset is likely to be competing with the Meta Quest Pro and even a potential AR headset from Google that is reportedly in development, and its pricing will have to be competitive with those, so $2000 may not seem as odd as first anticipated.
In addition, as Microsoft has reportedly cancelled plans for HoloLens 3, it may open a space for a high-end headset such as Apple's own AR Headset to occupy when it does release.
When Could We Hear More?
As things currently stand, we are unlikely to hear any official news on the Apple AR Headset until the official announcement, which is expected at the back-end of this year.
As and when we hear any interesting and reputable leaks though, we'll be sure to update this page with what's new.