Report calls for Apple to release LiDAR equipped VR headset with six lenses early next year

Report calls for Apple to release LiDAR equipped VR headset with six lenses early next year
Last month, we passed along some news about Apple's rumored upcoming headsets. Reportedly, a VR headset will be released next year followed by the long-awaited AR based Apple Glass in 2023. That scenario was repeated by U.S. brokerage firm J.P. Morgan; the latter told clients in a note that the VR headset-Apple's first such product-will start shipping during the opening months of 2022.

J.P. Morgan's technology industry analyst Yang Weilun said that the main difference between Apple's VR headset and those of the competition will be the use of LiDAR on Apple's variant. First seen on the 2020 iPad Pro and included in the camera module of the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max, the LiDAR scanner measures the distance between items using Time of Flight (ToF) technology. ToF works by measuring how long it takes a beam of light to bounce off a subject and return to the phone. This data can help deliver a more accurate computation of distance and will lead to improvements in experiencing AR. A report in China Times (via AppleInsider) says that Apple's VR headset will be equipped with six lenses besides the LiDAR scanner.

J.P. Morgan's Weilun says that the device will cost Apple in excess of $500 to produce and the retail price will be more than the amount charged by other tech companies for rival VR headsets. Last month's story estimated that the device would retail for $1,000 and up. It also noted that Apple was being extremely conservative with its sales estimates and hoped that each Apple Store could ring up one unit each day. With 500 Apple Stores, the company was estimating that it could sell 180,000 units over the course of a year from its retail units alone.

As for the AR powered Apple Glass, J.P. Morgan noted that the specs for such a device are "extremely difficult" which means that such a product will most likely not be released over the next 12 to 18 months. The specs are not the only thing making Apple Glass a potentially difficult sale. When Google Glass was introduced (as "Project Glass" in a video that caught everyone's attention in April 2012), it was expensive at $1,500, required time-consuming fitting sessions, and took photos and videos on the sly. That gave those using Google Glass the rather unflattering nickname of "Glassholes."

No longer sold to the public, Google Glass has become a tool used by manufacturers. It will be interesting to see whether Apple can help the technology fulfill the promise that Google showed nearly 10 years ago. The first headset is expected to get developers and consumers ready for the following year's lightweight Apple Glass which will look like a traditional pair of glasses.

Next year's headset will use Virtual Reality which employs 3D images to simulate an environment that you believe that your are immersed in. Augmented Reality overlays a real-world image with computer-generated information.

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