Apple’s mixed reality headset is rumored to be tech’s worst-kept secret, and a new report on the device from information (its second this week) is packed full of details about the turbulent development of the unannounced product.
One of the most notable parts of the story involves Apple’s decision to go with a standalone headset. At one point, Apple had yet to decide whether to move forward with a more powerful VR headset that would be paired with a base station or a standalone station. While Apple’s AR/VR leader Mike Rockwell apparently preferred the version with the base station – which included a processor that eventually shipped as the M1 Ultra, according to information — Apple executives opted for the standalone product. Bloomberg reported similar details in 2020.
This choice apparently had long term effects on the development of the helmet. “At the time the decision was made, the device’s multiple chips had already been in development for several years, making it impossible to go back to the drawing board to create, for example, a single chip to handle all tasks. helmet”, information reported. “Other challenges, such as integrating 14 cameras on the headset, caused headaches for hardware and algorithm engineers.”
The report also includes details of Jony Ive’s continued consultation on the design of the project even after his official departure from Apple. I “prefer” a portable battery, maybe like what Magic Leap offers. But other prototypes had the battery in the headset headband, and it’s unclear which one will be used in the final design, information said.
Apple reportedly showed the headset to its board last week, so it could be close to a public reveal. That said, it might not be announced until later this year and won’t be available until 2023, so we might wait a bit to try it out for ourselves. For further, Apple is developing a pair of AR glasses that look like Ray-Ban Wayfarer glasses, but information says these are “still many years before release”. (I’m curious how they differ in style from wayfarer type glasses from Meta and Ray-Bans.)