Apple launching 3D virtual reality gaming headset

Apple is planning to launch an expensive, ahead of its widely rumoured AR smart glasses. The first version will be so expensive that each Apple Store might only sell one each day, and more similar to highly priced and high-performance products like the Mac Pro, for instance.

It could arrive as soon as next year, the report claimed.

That could then be followed by the more widely rumoured smart glasses, which are still several years away from being completed, Bloomberg said. While the company had been targeting 2023 as a possible release date for that augmented reality hardware, it could take much longer than that.

Unlike those AR glasses, the virtual reality would include an “all-encompassing 3D digital environment for gaming, watching video and communicating”, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported, and it would only have “limited” options to use augmented reality features that put virtual objects on top of the real world.

That suggests the initial release would compete more with devoted VR headsets such as those made by HTC, PlayStation and Oculus, rather than the AR technologies that have been such a focus for the company in recent years.

But it would be vastly more expensive – and more powerful – than those rival headsets, the report claims. While those tend to be priced in the hundreds of dollars, the new headset could cost thousands, and would include better displays and processing hardware.

For years, Apple has been rumoured to be working on a wearable headset. It would be the first entirely new type of hardware since the Apple Watch, and build on the company’s recent interest in both wearable technology and augmented reality.

Rumours suggest that the glasses could look largely similar to traditional eyewear, but feature small displays that would allow information to be put over the top of the real world. Someone following map directions might see them flash up over the streets they need to turn down, for instance.

While those glasses are likely to prove much more mainstream than any kind of virtual reality headset, they also come with much more challenges. No other company has succeeded in bringing such glasses to the public in large numbers: Google’s Glass notably failed to catch on and was demoted to focus on specific working situations, a route which has been followed by Microsoft’s HoloLens augmented reality headsets.

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