Leak-hating Tim Cook tells Chinese media to "stay tuned" for Apple's mixed-reality headset
Apple CEO Tim Cook might have accidentally had a slip of the lip during an interview with Chinese media, according to Cult of Mac. Unlike some executives such as Nothing's Carl Pei, who often leaks product specs and other news (something Pei has been doing since he ran OnePlus), Cook has made it a point not to allow upcoming Apple devices to be the subject of leaks.
In the aforementioned interview with Chinese media, Cook practically confirmed that Apple is about to release an AR/VR mixed reality headset by telling Chinese consumers to "stay tuned" for the arrival of the product.
A good example of augmented reality is the Pokemon Go app
Virtual Reality (VR) allows a user to create an immersive made-up environment that a user can enter and interact with. AR, or Augmented Reality, puts data overlays on top of real-time video feeds. For example, the video game Pokemon Go is a good example of AR in action. While one of the phone's cameras picks up live video of the scene right in front of you, overlays on top of the screen show scenes of Pokemon in action allowing you to track one, stun it into submission, and catch it inside your Pokeball.
Render of the Mixed Reality Apple headset
Apple's CEO has always been smitten with AR and he expressed this during his recent interview with Chinese state-affiliated media. As usual, Cook pointed out that Apple is excited as can be about Augmented Reality. Ironically, Cook himself has been against tipsters and leakers revealing specs and other features pertaining to unannounced Apple devices. In June 2017, Apple held an internal seminar for employees asking them to stop posting rumored data. The seminar? News about it leaked!
The latest rumor about the headset is that will be able to switch smoothly between AR and VR capabilities. This comes from top-rated Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo who works for TF International. Kuo's track record is outstanding and he can probably tell you today what the soup of the day will be in the Apple cafeteria three months from now. The smooth switching feature will reportedly be one of the device's top selling points.
Apple recently showed off the headset to the company's Board of Directors. There could be as many as 14 cameras on the headset which will rely on a connection to the iPhone for data processing. The mixed AR/VR headset will sport a new operating system named r/OS for "reality operating system." Early rumors from back in 2021 called for pricing of the device in the neighborhood of $3,000.
Apple's mixed reality headset could be priced at $3,000
To control the navigation of the device, one prototype allegedly used a physical crown or dial similar to what is employed on the Apple Watch and AirPods Max, on the side of the visor. Another possibility could be the use of a "thimble-type-device" worn on the user's finger. Analyst Kuo says that Apple is not pigeon-holing the headset as a gaming platform and it will be manufactured offering the best video production to date.
Apple supposedly plans to ship as many as 250,000 units during its first year which falls far short of the millions of iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks it sells every year. As many as a dozen cameras could help track user's hand and head movements. The device might sport two 4K micro OLED displays and an AMOLED low-resolution display for peripheral vision. Pre-orders are rumored to begin during Q2 2023. Retail sales could take place before WWDC 2023 kicks off next June.
Analyst Jeff Pu expects Apple's AR-based Apple Glass, to undergo mass production in the second half of 2024. While the mixed reality headset has everyone's attention at the moment, it is the AR glasses that many believe will be Apple's next big thing and could replace the iPhone as the company's top-selling tech product.
And now, Apple CEO Tim Cook says that the mixed reality headset is real. It appears that the next few years could be very exciting for Apple fans.