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Apple mixed-reality headset: Two 8K displays, $3,000 price tag


A recent report suggested that an Apple mixed-reality headset would be the Mac Pro of VR devices, priced at a level where the company would only expect to sell one unit per day per Apple Store.

A new report today claims to have more specific details, including ultra-high-resolution 8K displays, and a price point somewhere around $3,000 …

Apple’s known interest in this field has so far focused more on augmented reality (AR) than virtual reality (VR), but the recent reports point to a mixed-reality device, which would be mostly VR but including some real-world elements.

The Information cites an unnamed source “with direct knowledge” of the device.

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, according to a person with direct knowledge of the device […]

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. 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, according to people with knowledge of the efforts […]

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. 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.

That pricing suggests that it won’t be pitched at consumers but primarily at businesses. This is the market Microsoft targets with the Hololens.

Increase productivity and reduce travel-related costs. Increase employee satisfaction through remote collaboration, with both hands free to complete tasks.

Help employees with hands-on learning of new skills faster, whilst improving training processes using new interactive methods.

Drive higher employee productivity and sales by visualising your design or sales-related 3D assets as holograms in the real world.

Achieve reduced error rates and increased employee productivity through automatic recognition of physical objects. Visualise related contextual data, whilst having full access to your physical environment and incorporating AI to extend beyond human capabilities.

However, the lengthy piece does also suggest gaming applications.

The site says that the above rendering is based on images of a prototype it has seen. In regards to the actual styling, the company’s recently released AirPods Max may provide some clues.

The Information viewed internal Apple images of a late-stage prototype from last year, which show a sleek, curved visor attached to the face by a mesh material and swappable headbands. An artist’s rendering based on the images of the headset and created by The Information appears below.

Apple likely sees the device as a stepping stone to a consumer AR product that has been widely dubbed Apple Glasses.

Apple is also working on a pair of lightweight smart glasses designed to overlay virtual objects onto a person’s view of the real world, as The Information previously reported. That device is still years away from release and faces steep technological hurdles. In October 2019, Apple told employees that it hoped to ship the headset in 2022 and the glasses by 2023.

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