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Reality Pro – more astonishing details come out about Apple’s headset

Apple knows this headset has got to shock – and from what we can gather…it’s not going to let us down

Reality Pro - Apples headset

Last week’s news

Reality Pro – the name we expect Apple to use for their long-awaited AR/VR headset, is happening…and soon!

We live in a fickle old world, don’t we? Last week, Apple gave us the New Year surprise of all surprises, by announcing M2 Mac minis, M2 MacBook Pro’s, and a new HomePod. I have actually ordered the HomePod, and will let you know what I make of it, when it arrives, hopefully, next week sometime.

The embargoes are only just lifting on last week’s new products, and paying customers don’t even have their hands on them yet, but already, we are moving on.

What’s to come?

Last week, I made the point, what else is there left for Apple to bring out this year?

With so much coming out last week, it does leave the cupboard a little sparse. We should be getting the Mac Pro, iPhone 15, of course, and some updates to iPad possibly. As iMac seems to have been so overlooked, for so long, I guess there is an outside chance we may get an M2 version of that too.

Hardware wise, I think that is likely to be it, though. At WWDC, we’ll get the latest version of macOS, but it looks like Apple is leaving the stage clear, for the BIG one – Reality Pro.

Much of the available human resources, from all departments at Apple, are now being channelled in to the final push on Reality Pro, as this seven-year project nears its completion, and launch.

It’s gathering pace

A few weeks ago, we had the most detailed tech-spec dump on the headset to date, from The Information. And, as the dust settles on that, we are now getting even more new details.

For instance, a shell company, ’New Zealand Intellectual Property Office’, continues to file trademarks globally for xrOS, which seems to be the name that the Reality Pro’s operating system will bear.

And this week, Bloomberg, seem to have unearthed even more granular details on what is coming our way with Reality Pro.

In a nutshell

Before going in to greater detail, the quickest, and easiest way to summarise the Reality Pro experience, is as a 3D version of an iPhones UI. To help set it apart from rivals, the headset will use revolutionary eye, and hand-tracking systems.

Setting the stage

Reality Pro is known to have numerous, external cameras. These will analyse the user’s hand movements, with internal sensors reading your eyes. It is this technology that allows users to control the headset by looking at an on-screen item — whether it’s a button, app icon or list entry.

The device will break with tradition, and be a totally handsfree experience, and there will be no hand-held controller options. To activate a task, you’ll pinch together your thumb & index finger. The experience is said to feel very familiar to using an iPhone or iPad.

Via the simple twist of a digital crown, similar to Watch Ultra, or AirPod Max, wearers will be able to jump in and out of AR/VR. In the AR world, digital content will be laid over the top of the real world. In VR, you’ll be immersed within the headset, in an entirely digital world. VR will shut you off from the real world completely.

Apple will offer users with prescription glasses custom lenses that sit within the headset itself.

Video calls

This will be another area that Apple hopes to steal a thunder from its main rivals.

Whilst Meta creates a cartoon-type avatar, Apple are looking to realistically render the wearers entire face, and body. Assuming both parties have a Reality Pro headset, then the meeting experience should feel like you are in the same room.

Initially, this will only be available for one-to-one calls, due to the crazy amount of processing power that’ll be required. Group calls will be an option, but only with more Memoji based characters instead.

Going to the movies

Apple has put a lot of time in watching content on Reality Pro, an amazing, immersive, not-to-be-forgotten experience.

It seems as if you’ll be looking at a giant screen floating in an environment similar to outer space, or a desert. Audio, which will include Spatial Audio, obviously, and will come via AirPod Pro. I wonder if, at this price point, whether a pair will be included, or not.

Apple is known to be developing VR content for the platform with about half a dozen media partners, such as Walt Disney. Apple TV+ content is also being developed to work with the headset, eventually looking to include sports coverage as well.

A Mac on your face

Another new tid-bit to come out in this latest info-dump, is that it is hoped you’ll be able to use the Reality Pro as a monitor for your Mac, but still use the physical keyboard, trackpad & mouse.

Whilst Apple perfects the technology to type midair, Reality Pro will use Siri to input text (good luck with that!). This will be a stand-alone feature, and, unlike Apple Watch, won’t rely on your iPhone.

All of which should mean that you’ll be able to use supported apps such as Photos. Safari, Calendar, Mail, and Messages, directly from within the new headset.

Gaming will clearly be an important area for this new product, and it’ll be powered by Apple’s dedicated VR engine.

Processor and power

The recently released M2 chip will be at the heart of the device, along with ‘Reality Processor’ – a processor dedicated to driving the graphics, and mixed-reality experiences.

As you can tell, there is a hell of a lot going on with this headset. All this heavy processor work creates heat, even using Apple silicon, and the engineers were aware, that all this heat, close to the user’s face, could prove an issue.

So with that in mind, and also to address the issues of weight, and balance, the battery pack, will now be connected to the headset via a cable. The battery pack itself, roughly the size of two iPhone 14 Pro Max, will sit in your pocket.

There will also be cooling fans in the headset as well, as a secondary way of reducing the heat around your face. Battery life is roughly what you’d expect – around twenty hours. I’m guessing you’d get a second battery pack with the headset, if only to ensure you can get through watching a movie from start-to-finish.

An exclusive…

My renders’ artist, has some connections within the AR/VR headset world, and told me not to be surprised we end up with some field-of-view displays as well…more on that will hopefully come in a video I will be working on soon…

The in-store experience

Similar to how Apple launched Apple Watch, a ’store-within-a-store’ experience is being planned for Apple’s retail stores. There, you’ll be able to try out the Reality Pro experience first-hand.

The device, which will be made largely of glass, aluminium, and even carbon fibre, will hopefully be launched by June, at a price of at least $3000.

Wrapping up

It looks very much as if no stone has been left-unturned in the development of this product.

They are hoping to ship around one million units in the first year, but even at the high ticket price, are prepared to take a hit on the headset, at launch.

The big USPs, for me, are the eye/hand-tracking capabilities, and the ability to use the headset as a macOS display. Whilst it will all take some getting used to for sure, it does seem that Apple is hell-bent, on making this a high-end, unique experience.

It could well go the way of iPad and Apple Watch – apart from the hardcore enthusiasts, initial uptake may be slow, but what’s the odds that within five years, this thing is a massive success?

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