The augmented reality (AR) future may be closer than we think.
As per reports, Apple CEO Tim Cook has given the biggest hint that the company plans to enter the AR/VR space, signalling the arrival of its long-rumoured headset that has been in the works since 2015.
During an interview with the Chinese state-run publication China Daily, Cook was asked about what he believed it would take for AR technology to become popular in the consumer world.
In response, he repeated many things he's said before about how excited he is about AR while noting the 14,000 ARKit-enabled apps currently in the iPhone and iPad App Store. "I think that we're still in the very early innings of how this technology will evolve," he added. "I couldn't be more excited about the opportunities we've seen in this space, and sort of stay tuned and you'll see what we have to offer."
Cook then described how AR tech has evolved over the years while noting that users can already experience AR on their iPhones and iPads.
Apple is said to be working on an Augmented Reality-based product for years now. There were big speculations that the company will unveil its first-ever AR product at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) that was held earlier this month. Some analysts even suggested the name of the OS, Reality OS, that Apple's AR devices will run on. But then the product remained a rumour, as it has been for the past many years.
Apple's first headset is believed to be a standalone mixed reality headset capable of both AR and VR. Rumours of Apple's AR/VR headset project have been going on for years. Both Bloomberg's Mark Gurman and TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo have reported extensively on the rumoured headset, which is expected to be out in 2023.
At this point, no one really knows what the Apple headset will look like. But if reports are to be believed it will completely different from the existing VR headsets on the market. The headset is said to have an "innovative three-display configuration" that combines dual 4K OLED microdisplays with at least six optical modules to provide continuous "video see-through AR services." It is said to have an M1 Pro-level chip inside and could feature as many as 14 built-in cameras for advanced tracking. All of that will add to the end price which could be in the range of $3000. Apple is reportedly teaming up with Hollywood directors to create video content for its upcoming augmented reality (AR) / virtual reality (VR) headset, according to a report from The New York Times.
Apple would likely wait for players like Meta (formerly Facebook) to establish the ecosystem and market for VR headsets. Meta already sells Oculus-branded VR headsets in the market.