According to a new report from Bloomberg, the virtual and augmented reality helmet that Apple has been working on for several years is scheduled to be introduced in 2022. The novelty will compete with Oculus, PlayStation VR and HTC’s VIVE helmet.
This time, Apple is not planning to create an analog to the iPhone with a tight integration of services that will be of interest to a wide range of people. It will be a more niche product at a premium level, whose task is to prepare both developers and users for the release of a more budget and mass-market augmented reality device.
According to the publication, Apple’s first helmet will be “much more expensive” than its competitors, which cost between $300 and $900. The company expects each store to sell just one helmet a day. Given that the company has just over 500 official stores, that easily translates into 180,000 gadgets (if you don’t count retailers). By comparison, about 200 million iPhones are sold in a year.
Apple plans to outfit the helmet with a top-of-the-line processor and the highest-resolution displays in the industry. Some of the chips being tested proved more powerful than the M1, which is used in the new Macs. The device will be independent and run on a built-in battery. A cooler had to be used for cooling – something the company has usually avoided in its mobile devices.
The presence of the cooler and the battery, in turn, made the helmet too massive and heavy. To reduce the strain on the neck, they had to sacrifice the space normally reserved for people with poor vision, resulting in a tighter fit for the helmet and a smaller footprint. Users who wear glasses will be able to insert special lenses with the correct diopters right on top of the displays. To further reduce weight, Apple plans to do away with metal and is considering a fabric coating.
All of this applies to the prototype, codenamed N301. Given that this is not the final product and it is at least a year away from presentation, Apple may well refine and significantly modify the device. The augmented reality glasses are codenamed N421 and are in the early stages of development. It is doubtful that the manufacturer will be able to meet the original plans and present them in 2023.