Move over Oculus Quest, Apple could have its Apple AR Glasses ready by 2022, and then have a second ultra-high-resolution VR/AR hybrid headset ready to go by 2023.
That information comes from a new Bloomberg report that provides a deep dive into Apple’s augmented reality launch plans with its two new headsets, codenamed N421 and N301.
The first, the N421, is the Apple AR Glasses you’ve heard rumors about for years. They’re lightweight, but only offer AR through Apple’s existing ARKit technology.
According to the report, however, it’s the latter N301 that’s Apple’s more ambitious play into the gaming VR/AR space: the headset will have a high-resolution display as well as a cinematic speaker system that “will make it almost impossible for a user to differentiate the virtual world from the real one”.
That system will take a number of design cues from the Oculus Quest by using a fabric design and will be wire-free, which was apparently the work of former design chief Jony Ive. It will have its own section in the App Store, apparently, and comes from Apple’s AR team of over 1,000 employees.
What does Apple augmented reality look like?
If you want a full look at Apple’s augmented reality road map, it’s worth reading the Bloomberg piece in full. In it, you’ll find loads of details about how the glasses came together and what the future of Apple’s AR landscape could look like.
If you're pressed for time, the short answer is that Apple appears to be building a robust AR ecosystem of products that could hit a number of price points and user preferences. The N301 sounds like a more robust headset designed for gamers and hardcore VR/AR enthusiasts while the N421 could be the equivalent of the Apple Watch – a trendy, affordable and practical device for a wider audience.
What we’ll use the headset and glasses for, says Bloomberg citing Apple sources, could include games, video streaming software, and applications for virtual meetings, and might primarily be controlled by Siri voice commands – though a controller is being tested as well.
From Bloomberg’s report, it doesn’t sound like any of these products will be announced at Monday’s WWDC 2020 conference, but we’ll be watching regardless for the latest on iOS 14, tvOS 14 and the next Apple HomePod.
- Own a VR headset already? Don't miss our round-up of the best VR games