Apple's Reality Pro AR/VR headset now on glide path toward June WWDC introduction

Apple's Reality Pro AR/VR headset now on glide path toward June WWDC introduction
Apple's AR/VR mixed reality headset dubbed the "Reality Pro" is expected to greet the light of day for the first time at WWDC 2023 on June 5th. The device is said to be the most complex product ever designed by Apple and is reportedly going to wear a price tag of $3,000. If it feels like we've been talking about the headset for some time, it's only because we have been. But the good news is that barring an unexpected delay, in roughly five and a half weeks we will know much more about the "Reality Pro."

The "Reality Pro" is reportedly in the final stages of production before its June unveiling

As the headset makes its way to WWDC, the Economic Daily News of Taiwan (via MacRumors) reports that it is in the "supply chain delivery stage," and a subsidiary of Apple's top manufacturing partner Foxconn is involved in the final steps of preparation. The latter's GIS unit, which laminates iPad displays, will laminate the headsets on the "Reality Pro." Before this news was posted by the Economic Daily News, it had seemed as though Foxconn was excluded from the assembly of the headset in favor of Apple partner Luxshare headquartered in China.

The report goes on to note that Foxconn's GIS division is running a production line to laminate the headset's lenses at its factory in Chengdu, China. Based on the production timetable for the headset, the "Reality Pro" will be unveiled at WWDC as expected and released a few months later. However, Apple has yet to find a must-have app for the headset that might drive demand for the product.

A less-expensive second-generation model, rumored to be called the "Reality One," is said to be in development. To make the price more within reach of the average Johnny Appleseed, Apple will of course cut corners when it comes to features and it will also try to rely on price cuts for components from its supply chain. Foxconn said earlier this year that it hopes to build the "Reality One," and the involvement of GIS in the production of the pricier model should help it obtain that business from Apple.

The "Reality Pro" will be driven by the extended reality Operating System (xrOS) and could be equipped with as many as a dozen cameras and sensors that track the user's head and body. It supposedly will have support for spatial audio (surround sound), and sport a 4K micro-LED display-one for each eye. A Digital Crown, similar to the one on the Apple Watch, will quickly take users from the immersive world of virtual reality and open up the displays to deliver augmented reality-based content where computer-generated data is layered on top of real-world feeds.

The headset will run native iPad apps

Users will wear a battery belt around their waists and each battery will last for about two hours. And last week, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman said that the headset will run iPad apps such as "Books, Camera, Contacts, FaceTime, Files, Freeform, Home, Mail, Maps, Messages, Music, Notes, Photos, Reminders, Safari, Stocks, TV, and Weather." Other iPad apps will run on the device with some modifications.

Apple's M2 chip will help power the "Reality Pro" which Gurman says will have support for "in-air typing." One cool feature will allow those engaged in a video conference to see a VR-generated meeting room where the user will see realistic-looking avatars of other conference participants walking around as though they were all in one room attending the same meeting. Recently an anonymous insider tested the device and was reportedly "blown away" by it after previously being disappointed by the headset in previous tests.

Apple Glasses, the AR-powered spectacles that some expect to replace the iPhone in popularity, are expected to come to market in 2026 or 2027.

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