Apple’s very first VR headset is still early in its development phase. While the prospective device is still in a “late prototype stage”, a new report has given us an idea of some design features and what it may cost to get our hands on the headset.
The latest report from Bloomberg indicates that Apple’s VR headset will be treated as a niche device, with the company having set “conservative sales expectations”. When speaking to sources familiar with the matter, Bloomberg was able to discover that Apple had faced development challenges in prototyping the headset (codenamed N301).
Many iterations of the device ended up being too big or too heavy. Therefore, Apple will reportedly use a fabric design to offset the weight issues. That alone is unlike Apple’s ethos, as many of the company’s products heavily reflect metal designs. Additionally, Apple has designed the headset to have a fan. The finalized VR unit may ultimately be similar in size to the Oculus Quest 2. Taking a page out of Facebook’s Oculus, Apple has also worked on prototypes that operate on batteries, rather than plugging into a Mac or power source to make it a standalone device.
It has also been said that the headset may include external cameras that will enable AR features. Apple’s VR headset has long been in development. Though, the company is not only tackling VR as the N301 headset is merely a precursor to its AR glasses. Codenamed N421, the AR glasses are still early in development. Its VR headset will prove to be a testing ground for Apple, though it’s expected that the glasses may release in 2023.
Apple is said to be working on “some of its most advanced and powerful chips”. Some of the chips tested by Apple have already passed the performance of its latest M1 processor.
With that said, Apple has set its expectations to how many headsets it may sell. Although it’s still up in the air as to how much the device will cost, internal sources have indicated that it will be an expensive and niche product. Given that competitors from Facebook’s Oculus to Sony’s PSVR and HTC’s Vive can run anywhere from $400 to $1200, Apple’s VR headset could surpass the pricing we’ve seen previously. Sources have anticipated that Apple may only sell one headset per day at each of its retail locations, which would amount to roughly 180,000 units per year.