With Mixed Reality Headset Coming, Apple Delays Lighter AR Glasses Over Technical Issues

With Mixed Reality Headset Coming, Apple Delays Lighter AR Glasses Over Technical Issues

Created 1yr ago, last updated 1yr ago

Apple's Reality Pro combines virtual reality and augmented reality in a much lighter package than anything available now, but real AR glasses get pushed back indefinitely.

With Mixed Reality Headset Coming, Apple Delays Lighter AR Glasses Over Technical Issues

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While Apple's mixed-reality headset is coming in June, its attempt to create a lighter, day-to-day pair of augmented reality glasses appears to have run into technical difficulties.

The forthcoming mixed-reality headset — possibly called Reality Pro — will have both augmented reality and virtual reality capabilities. It is thought to be smaller, lighter and more optically advanced than competing versions — all necessary for the immersive virtual worlds called metaverses to become a mainstream reality.
A number of metaverses, including Decentraland and The Sandbox, are built on blockchain technology, and more broadly, the idea of a next-generation Web3 is often entwined with VR capabilities.

Still, Apple's Reality Pro is a niche product that will strap a monitor with external cameras over the user's eyes.

The AR glasses, by contrast, are said to be more like normal glasses with the capability to overlay data on the real world, and thus far more usable on a day-to-day basis. No timeframe is currently attached to the project, Bloomberg reported.

One of the biggest hurdles appears to be the battery for this follow-up product. Attaching it to the device itself would make it heavy, and fuel safety concerns. But even if a workaround is found here, battery life would then rear its head, amid doubts that it could last a whole day.

With a cost expected to run to $3,000 or more, Apple's Reality Pro will have an ultra-high resolution monitor, full Mac M2 chip, separate AR/VR chip, and 10 pass-through cameras to enable users to wear it while moving around for an AR overlay of the real world. It will also have a variety of sensors including eye tracking that will make it suitable for full virtual reality gaming and work environments.

Apple appears to dislike the phrase metaverse, possibly because it has been co-opted by Mark Zuckerberg, who renamed Facebook Meta. And has, incidentally, been giving the broader metaverse concept a bad name with laughably poor graphics in Horizon Worlds. But the company does produce what's widely considered the best mainstream VR headset, Quest.

Meta's best-selling Quest 2 VR headset runs $399 and is quite large — essentially like strapping a curved smartphone across your face — while its slightly smaller and substantially more advanced Quest Pro runs $1,499. Apple's version is expected to be much smaller and lighter, but also twice the price.

Google Glass 2?

Apple's AR glasses are similar in concept to the Google Glass spectacles that failed to gain traction in a brief run from 2013 to 2015. Although there is an enterprise version for the workplace still available.

Google itself is rebooting the consumer-focused concept. At its I/O conference in May, Google announced a new version of AR glasses with the ability to translate conversations into different languages in real time, using a text-based AR overlay.

A blog post from Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai included a video clip announcing the new Google Glass.

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