We recently learned that Apple is planning to dip its feet into the virtual reality market with a premium headset that will compete against the likes of Oculus’ Quest and Sony’s PlayStation VR products. While Bloomberg’s initial report was light in terms of hardware specifications, The Information shared a story today (via 9to5Mac) claiming that the mixed-reality headset will feature a pair of 8K UHD displays and numerous cameras for tracking hand and eye movements. It’s also said to include swappable headbands.
“A mixed-reality headset Apple is developing will be equipped with more than a dozen cameras for tracking hand movements and showing video of the real world to people wearing it, along with ultra-high-resolution 8K displays and advanced technology for tracking eye-tracking technology,” The Information reported. “The inclusion of two 8K displays in the headset would make its picture quality far higher than that of other consumer headsets – and even the majority of high-end televisions, which cost thousands of dollars at 8K resolution.”
The report goes on to echo previous rumors about Apple’s headset costing much more than Facebook, Sony, and HTC’s offerings. Internal discussions have pegged the price of the headset at around $3,000, which is closer to the premiums of Microsoft’s mixed-reality HoloLens 2 headset ($3,500).
“Among the biggest risks is the price of the device, which is likely to cost significantly more than the $300 to $1,000 for existing VR headsets from Facebook’s Oculus and others,” the publication wrote. “Last year, Apple internally discussed pricing the product around $3,000, more than the starting price of the company’s high-end laptops but around the $3,500 that Microsoft charges for its mixed-reality headset, HoloLens, according to the person with direct knowledge of the device.”
Apple’s pricey mixed-reality headset will reportedly be followed by a more mainstream offering in the form of lightweight smart glasses that can overlay virtual objects onto a person’s view of the real world. That product isn’t expected until 2023 at the earliest, however.