Apple’s rumored mixed reality headset appears to be technology’s worst kept secret, and a new report on the device from Apple The information (the second this week) is packed with details about the turbulent development of the unannounced product.
One of the most notable parts of the story is about Apple’s decision to go with a standalone headset. At one point, Apple hadn’t decided whether it would move forward with a more powerful VR headset that would pair with a base station or a standalone one. While Apple’s AR/VR leader Mike Rockwell apparently preferred the base station version — including a processor that eventually shipped as the M1 Ultra, according to The information — Apple executives chose to go with the standalone product. Bloomberg reported similar details in 2020.
That choice has apparently had long-term effects on the development of the headset. “By the time the decision was made, the device’s multiple chips had already been in development for several years, making it impossible to go back to the drawing board to create, say, a single chip to perform all of the headset’s tasks. feed”, The information reported. “Other challenges, such as including 14 cameras on the headset, have given hardware and algorithm engineers headaches.”
The report also details Jony Ive’s ongoing consultations about the project’s design, even after his official departure from Apple. Ive “preferred” a portable battery, perhaps as Magic Leap offers. But on other prototypes, the battery was housed in the headset’s headband, and it’s unclear which one will be used in the final design. The information say.
Apple reportedly showed the headset to its board of directors last week, so it could almost be a public reveal. That said, it may not be announced until later this year and may not hit store shelves until 2023, so we can wait a while to try it for ourselves. Further down the line, Apple is developing AR glasses that look like Ray-Ban wayfarer glasses, but The information says those are “many years away from release.” (I’m curious how they’ll differ in style from Meta and Ray-Bans’ true wayfarer-esque glasses.)