When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Here’s how it works

Home / Features / Apple Reality headset latest news and rumours: reveal due in June?

Apple Reality headset latest news and rumours: reveal due in June?

An augmented/virtual reality headset from the maker of the iPhone? It's looking likely....

Apple doesn’t launch entirely new products very often, so when there’s one in the works it sends the rumour mill into overdrive. Here’s what we know so far about the Apple Reality headset.

Talk of an Apple virtual reality (VR) headset has been doing the rounds for years, and it’s looking very much like something concrete might be in the pipeline. We now believe that the initial Apple Reality launch will be a mixed reality (MR) headset.

So instead of just being a virtual world that you see, it will overlay information and images on the real world. That puts it somewhere in the sphere of Microsoft Hololens (not moving onto a third version, it seems) and Google Glass. That would also make sense given Apple’s work on ARKit for the iPad and iPhone.

So what do we know so far? And when is the Apple Reality headset (or whatever it ends up being called) likely to see the light of day?

Additional reporting by Dan Grabham

Apple Reality headset rumoured specs

According to Bloomberg, Apple’s headset has been in the works since 2015. And that means the specs will have changed dramatically over time. The most recent version is said to be powered by a version of Apple’s own M1 chip, with 8K displays, a 120-degree field of view and eye-tracking technology on the inside, and multiple cameras on the outside. More recent rumours unsurprisingly peg a newer M2 chip as being used.

The headset is predicted to come with motorised interpupilary distance (IPD) adjustment, and support prescription lenses with a magnetic mounting system.

Apple doesn’t tend to jump on bandwagons unless it’s convinced the product being developed has ironed out any issues with existing competitors and that there’s a big enough demand for it. Reports in early 2022 suggested that Apple’s board was given a demo of the aforementioned mixed-reality headset.

Apple has been pushing AR apps pretty hard on iOS in recent years, and a dedicated set of Apple AR glasses have been long rumoured. References to ‘realityOS’ have been spotted in pre-release iOS builds, App Store upload logs and trademark filings going all the way back to 2017. More recently, there have been trademarks leaked for ‘xrOS’, which could be an alternative name for the software.

Apple reportedly shelved its plans to release a more comprehensive augmented reality headset. Previous rumours suggested that the first device, codenamed N301, would offer VR/AR capabilities, while a second pair of AR-only glasses (codename N421) was originally set to follow later. Trademarks seen last year suggest that Apple is considering the Reality One and Reality Pro names for each device.

Apple headset: rumoured design

Oculus Go

Apple has managed to keep any renders or mock-ups of its headset under wraps so far, but a report by The Information in 2021 said it would feature a “sleek, curved visor” with “swappable headbands”, which sound similar to the canopy on the AirPods Max. That knitted, breathable mesh is designed to reduce pressure on the wearer’s head, so would make sense for a device that you’d be likely to wear for long periods. It’d be a small departure from existing headsets like the Oculus Go (above), but still recognisable as a VR device.

Materials will apparently be a mix of aluminium, glass and carbon fibre, in order to keep weight down. The depth-sensing and location-tracking cameras will be hidden, for a more visually pleasing design.

The report also mentioned one prototype that included a physical dial, much like the Digital Crown found on the Apple Watch and AirPods Max. This would make sense from an ergonomic point of view, allowing the wearer to navigate menus without having to fiddle about looking for multiple individual buttons. You can bet it’ll support Siri for totally hands-free use as well, though.

The same source more recently suggested a waist-mounted battery pack, which would connect to the headset via a MagSafe-like cable. Two hours of use is predicted per charge, with hot-swappable packs an option.

Some other rumours in 2022 suggested users would be able to use Face ID tech that would actually work with just the eyes and that users would be able to point at apps and pinch their fingers to launch them, which would be a huge challenge to get right.

Apple VR: rumoured price and release date

So it seems that Apple has decided to focus on a mixed-reality set that is rumoured to cost around the same as an iPhone. That is anywhere between $800 and up to $1600, then.

Every time Apple’s WWDC (Worldwide Developer Conference) event rolls around there are fresh rumours that the headset will make an appearance (since at least 2019) and that seems to be the case in 2023. So far things have been delayed due to issues with the 2021-2022 prototype overheating and a subsequent delay reported in February 2023 suggested that WWDC 2023 in June would be the place for the launch and not, as previously thought, a special March/April reveal event. Gurman says the latest delay was because “product testing showed that both hardware and software issues still needed to be ironed out” but this seems rather unlike Apple to have not sorted issues at such a late point – unless WWDC is just a preview and the headset won’t actually be released until much later.

It’s likely this rollback was decided several months ago and there are many possible reasons of course. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has a patchy record and said in 2022 that an Apple VR headset could be announced as early as January, but backtracked at the start of 2023 when he changed his prediction to the second half of 2023. That makes a lot more sense to us.

Kuo claims it’ll be the most revolutionary product since the iPhone, which would be easier to believe if he didn’t expect it to cost between $2000 and $2500, possibly more. Surely that’s no way to turn AR and VR into a mainstream success story like the iPhone?

Main image from Ian Zelbo

Enable referrer and click cookie to search for eefc48a8bf715c1b ad9bf81e74a9d264 [] 2.7.22