Over the past couple of years, we’ve come across multiple reports and rumors about Apple’s Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) headsets as well as glasses. However, it appears that the company is also at work on a rather ambitious Mixed Reality (MR) headset that comes with an impressive hardware portfolio and might go against Microsoft’s $3,500 HoloLens 2.
Over a dozen cameras backed by advanced eye-tracking technology
As per an exhaustive report by The Information, Apple is working on a Mixed Reality headset that will come equipped with over a dozen cameras for head and hand-movement tracking, as well as capturing the real world in its view. In comparison, the Microsoft HoloLens features a total of seven cameras – four visible light-sensing cameras, a pair of infrared (IR) cameras, and a 1-megapixel ToF depth sensor.
Another impressive aspect of Apple’s rumored Mixed Reality headset is that it might come equipped with 8K displays. Microsoft’s offering, on the other hand, is fitted with a 2K panel. The report cites a source ‘with direct knowledge of the device’ and adds that the headset will offer advanced eye-tracking technology.
Apple's mixed reality headset could offer the highest resolution display out there
Now, an 8K panel would be the most pixel-dense screen on a commercially available consumer device that falls under the wearable segment. However, Apple reportedly has a solution at its disposal to ensure that driving such a high-resolution display doesn’t end up hogging all the system resources.
“Apple has for years worked on technology that uses eye tracking to fully render only parts of the display where the user is looking. That would let the headset show lower-quality graphics in the user’s peripheral vision and reduce the device’s computing needs,” adds the report.
Apple's MR headset won't come cheap and might be priced around $3,000
Coming to the pricing part, Apple has reportedly discussed offering its Mixed Reality headset for around $3,000, which is $500 lower than what Microsoft asks for its own headset. Coming to the design aspect, a rough sketch based on a prototype created by The Information shows a curved display surrounded by a mesh fabric and a swappable headband that appears to take some inspiration from the design of Apple Watch straps.
As for the target audience, Apple reportedly aims for its Mixed Reality headset to help boost productivity via remote collaboration, assist in learning new skills via interactive methods, and aid with design visualization via 3D tools among others. Needless to say, all of it sounds like a device geared towards enterprise customers, just like the Microsoft HoloLens 2 headset.