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Why the Apple Mixed Reality Headset Signals the Future of XR

Nov 16, 2022

Apple is the most valuable company in the world when it comes to its market cap—which has surpassed $2.5 trillion—and is well on its way to becoming the first company ever valued at $3 trillion. It revolutionized several industries with the launches of products like the iPod and the iPhone, changing the way we consume media, communicate, and live our lives. Its products have sold billions of units globally, putting them in the hands of the everyman as well as the world’s elites. So, it was only a matter of time until the tech giant decided to alter the future of virtual reality with its rumored Apple mixed reality headset.

As with any leaked forthcoming Apple product, some rumors are more trustworthy than others. And sometimes the company’s plans simply change regarding certain features or characteristics of the product. The XR space, however, is one that Apple has largely avoided and so the anticipation of the launch of a new Apple mixed reality headset has industry experts and consumers alike anxious for a formal announcement.

What is the Apple mixed reality headset exactly?

Let’s first be clear here: Apple has yet to formally announce that it will be creating and selling a mixed reality headset. However, from information gleaned from a variety of sources, techies have begun to paint the picture of the product, what it will look like, and how it will function (and potentially alter the future of VR).

The rumored secret Apple team of engineers is now allegedly developing a headset that utilizes virtual and augmented reality. The first version of the product would feature mixed reality—including both virtual reality and augmented reality—which will then be followed by a “sleeker pair of augmented reality glasses coming at a later date,” which some are calling Apple Glasses.

Some renderings of the design have been created, though none are official Apple images. Built from leaked design descriptions, the Apple mixed reality headset is expected to have a comfortable mesh material that surrounds the screen to ensure a comfortable fit while the band that runs behind the head will be similar to the Apple Watch standard band material. Also equipped with sensors, OLED screens, and numerous cameras, the headset should be flawless in its immersive user experience. Overall, the design will look similar to other VR headsets in the marketplace, though with the quality and style of Apple’s current product portfolio.

Because the Apple mixed reality headset has yet to be acknowledged by Apple itself, there is not yet a release date for the product. Some think the release could be as early as the end of 2022, though at this point in the year 2023 may be more realistic.

How will the Apple mixed reality headset mark the future of XR?

Time will tell the exact features that any future Apple mixed reality headset includes, but from the information we have currently gathered the headset will certainly set itself apart from competitors in the market. For one, the Apple headset will reportedly “weigh less than an iPhone,” which would be an incredible feat considering the continued sleekness of the iPhone. Another incredible feature would be “more than a dozen [external] cameras for tracking hand movements,” which would position the device as the ultimate mixed reality headset.

Ultimately, Apple has proven time and time again that it knows how to not only launch successful products but completely alter industries in the process. With the future release of an Apple mixed reality headset, we expect no less than the same. They have set their own bar high.

Written by:

Christian Hart

• HOST 50 Program, XR Accelerator 2021 • XR filming, hologram and VFX technologies • eSports/Professional Gaming - University of California Irvine, XR Engineering - University of Michigan

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