Mark Gurman details Apple’s Reality Pro headset

Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman released an extensive report detailing Apple’s VR/AR headset. Let’s start with the name – it will be called Apple Reality Pro and could be announced at WWDC and launched in the US for $3,000 later this year.

Apple aims to cap a seven-year project and the work of its more than 1,000-strong technology development group in Reality Pro. The project is Apple’s first new category since the launch of the Apple Watch in 2015, and the company is taking a big financial gamble on its success.

Reality Pro will be made of aluminum, glass and cushions. Gurman calls it reminiscent of the Apple AirPods Max. It will have a curved screen on the front that can display the wearer’s eyes. It will have speakers on the sides and a headband to secure it on the user’s head. The Reality Pro will reportedly use a modified version of Apple’s M2 processor and will have the battery connected to the headset via a cable that the wearer will carry in their pocket. The battery is said to be the size of two iPhone 14 Pro Max batteries stacked together and will last up to 2 hours.

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The headset will differ from competing products (such as Meta’s Quest Pro) in several key ways – it will have face and eye tracking, combine VR (indoor virtual environment) with AR (augmented real world), have its own interface like an iPhone or iPad, and serves as a video viewing device (to watch movies or as an external screen for Mac).

The Reality Pro will have multiple external cameras to track your hands and sensors inside to track the user’s eyes. This means the headset will know where you’re looking and let you interact with the iPhone-like 3D interface (called xrOS internally) by pinching together with your thumb and index finger. This means Apple Reality Pro won’t require physical hand controllers to function like other headsets.

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Reality Pro will have a digital crown, like the Apple Watch – which will switch between VR and AR. Gurman says that in the transition from VR to AR, the fully developed environment will disappear and be surrounded by the user’s actual environment. Gurman reports that Apple expects this to be the pinnacle of Reality Pro.

Next up is FaceTime. Reality Pro will be able to realistically render a person’s face and entire body in a virtual environment. This way, two people can have a conversation in VR that is closer to reality than the cartoon rendering of the Meta. However, due to the sheer power-hungry nature of the processing power, when on a FaceTime call with more than two people, Reality Pro will display all users as Memoji.

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Mark Gurman gives a huge breakdown of Apple's Reality Pro headset

Users will be able to use Reality Pro as an external monitor for Mac. In this mode, users will see the display in virtual reality, but will still use their computer’s touchpad or mouse and physical keyboard.

Reality Pro will be able to simulate watching a movie on a giant theater screen in a completely simulated environment such as space or a desert. But Reality Pro will require you to wear AirPods to get surround sound.

Apple is said to be preparing an in-store environment for users to try out Reality Pro in their Apple Stores. Gurman says Apple is taking a long-term approach to Reality Pro and doesn’t expect to make a profit on the first-generation product, even at its high price.

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