Apple’s long-rumored mixed reality headset is reported to incorporate 14 cameras that will enable lifelike human avatars in a metaverse environment. The headset is currently expected to be announced by the end of 2023.
A mixed reality headset from Apple has been in the works since 2015, and has seen its share of challenges and delays. It is being developed alongside the tech giant’s AR/VR headset, which reportedly will have a $3,000 price tag. In a report earlier this week, some of the struggles and major roadblocks in developing the headset were shared by people said to be close to Apple’s mixed reality project. Some of the issues reported were claims that Apple’s team working on the development of the headset was struggling to get assistance in collaboration with other parts of the company.
In a follow-up report by The Information, several more details have been shared about Apple’s headset. One of the more intriguing features revealed in the development is that the headset is said to include 14 cameras that will create lifelike avatars with accurate facial expressions. The marquee feature “will track the user’s face to ensure virtual avatars accurately represent their expressions and mouth movements.”
Also mentioned, is that former design chief Jony I’ve will remain involved as an external consultant to the company, according to one person familiar with the matter.
The report added, “I’ve continued to tweak the headset’s design. While earlier prototypes had the battery in the headband, he prefers a design that would tether the headset to a battery the user wears, similar to Magic Leap’s headset design. It couldn’t t be learned if this approach will make it into the final design.”
Also noted was that the initial version of Apple’s mixed reality headset lacked a focus on gaming. Apparently, four people who have been involved with the project criticized “its lack of focus on gaming, a category of software that appeals to early adopters.” It was pointed out that a focus on gaming was important to the success of the iPhone, as well as an important feature for Meta’s VR group.
It was previously thought that Apple’s headset would be tethered to an external base, but is now believed to be a fully standalone device. The report stated that the chip that was meant for the base station is the same as the one that was later announced as the Apple’s M1 Ultra silicon for the Mac Studio.
Bloomberg reported recently that Apple’s board of directors received a demo of the headset last week, which could imply that the headset is nearing completion. The full length report by The Information can be read herewith a subscription.
Top image render created by Ian Zelbo