Mark Gurman details Apple’s Reality Pro headphones
Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman has released a detailed report, detailing Apple’s VR/AR headset. Let’s start with the name – it’ll be called Apple Reality Pro, and it could be announced at WWDC and launch in the US for $3,000 later this year.
Apple aims to complete a seven-year project and the work of its technology development group of more than 1,000 people in Reality Pro. The project is the first new category for Apple since the launch of the Apple Watch in 2015 and the company is taking a big financial gamble on its success.
Reality Pro will be made of aluminum, glass and cushions. Gurman calls it reminiscent of Apple’s AirPods Max. It will have a curved screen on the front which can show the wearer’s eyes. It will have speakers on the sides and a headband to secure it over a user’s head. Reality Pro would use a modified version of Apple’s M2 processor and have a battery connected to the headphones via a cable, which the wearer will carry in their pocket. The battery is said to be the size of two stacked iPhone 14 Pro Max batteries and will last up to 2 hours.
The headset will differ from competing products (like Meta’s Quest Pro) in a few key ways – it will have face and eye tracking, combine VR (indoor virtual environment) with AR (augmented real world), have its own interface like the iPhone or iPad, and serve as a video consumption device (for watching movies or as an external display for a Mac).
The Reality Pro will have multiple external cameras to track your hands and sensors inside to keep track of a user’s eyes. This means the headset will know where you’re looking and allow you to interact with the iPhone-like 3D interface (internally called xrOS) by pinching with your thumb and index finger. This means Apple’s Reality Pro won’t need physical controllers like other headsets to work.
The Reality Pro will have a digital crown, like the Apple Watch – which will switch between VR and AR. Gurman says that when moving from virtual reality to augmented reality, the fully emerged environment will disappear and be surrounded by the user’s real environment. Gurman reports that Apple expects this to be a highlight of Reality Pro.
The next step is FaceTime. Reality Pro will be able to realistically render a person’s face and full body in a virtual environment. This way, two people can have a virtual reality conversation that feels closer to reality than Meta’s cartoonish rendition. However, due to processing power requirements, when on a FaceTime call with more than two people, Reality Pro will display all users as Memoji.
Users will be able to use Reality Pro as an external monitor for a Mac. In this mode, users will see the display in virtual reality but still use their computer’s touchpad or mouse and physical keyboard.
Reality Pro will be able to simulate watching a movie on a giant cinema screen in a completely simulated environment like in space or a desert. But Reality Pro will require you to wear AirPods to get Spatial Audio.
Apple is reportedly preparing an in-store environment for users to try out Reality Pro in its Apple Stores. Gurman says Apple is taking a long-term approach to Reality Pro and doesn’t expect a profit from the first-generation product, even at its high price.