Apple’s Mixed-Reality Headset New Features Revealed in Report

According to some new details shared by The Information, Apple’s highly anticipated mixed-reality headset will feature a physical dial for switching to a view of the real world (via MacRumors).

Apple headset

The report reveals a handful of previously unheard-of features for Apple’s AR/VR headset, such as:

  • A design that uses aluminum, glass, and carbon fiber to reduce its size and weight, with concealed cameras.
  • A waist-mounted battery, connected via a magnetic, MagSafe-like power cable to the headset’s headband. Users can swap the battery out for longer sessions.
  • A small, Digital Crown-like dial on its right side for quickly switching between the virtual and physical world. It will not offer haptic feedback like the Apple Watch.
  • There will be multiple headband options, including one made of a similar material to Apple Watch sport bands with built-in speakers.
  • Magnetically attachable custom prescription lenses for glasses-wearers.
  • Small motors to automatically adjust its internal lenses to match the wearer’s interpupillary distance, providing the largest field of view possible for each individual.
  • A 120-degree field of view, like the Valve Index – more than the Meta Quest Pro’s 106-degree field of view.
  • The H2 chip for ultra-low latency connection with the second-generation AirPods Pro and future AirPods models.
  • Two chips, including a main SoC, including a CPU, GPU, and memory, and a dedicated image signal processor. Both are fabricated with a 5nm process.
  • The dedicated ISP translates the distorted images captured by the external cameras into a faithful video representation of the user’s surroundings with low latency. The chip contains custom high-bandwidth memory made by SK Hynix.
  • The ability to run existing iOS apps in 2D.

The source further notes that third-party Bluetooth headphones do not work well with the headset and suffer from too much lag. There is also no 3.5mm headphone jack on the headset.

While it was once rumored that the headband would be interchangeable like Apple Watch bands, that is no longer the case, since engineers faced technical challenges with the headband acting as a conduit for power to the headset.

Apple is said to favor hand-tracking and voice recognition to control the headset, but it has tested a “wand” and a “finger thimble” as alternative control input methods.

The report adds that Apple supplier Pegatron assembled thousands of prototype units of the headset last year at a facility near Shanghai.