Apple’s board of directors previewed its mixed reality headset last week, according to Bloomberg, suggesting its next big new product category could launch soon.
For Apple, launching a product category could open up new markets and potentially recreate the groundbreaking introduction of the iPhone in 2007. But if its headset is poorly received, it could reignite concerns about vision and execution. of the company’s product.
Its last major new product category, Apple Watch, was previewed in fall 2014 and launched the following year.
Bloomberg describes the device as a mixed-reality headset, explaining that it will use cameras on the outside to stream images to high-resolution screens inside the virtual reality headset, a technique called augmented reality “pass- through”.
An augmented reality feature shows the completed Apple Park at the Apple Park Visitor Center on November 17, 2017 in Cupertino, California.
Amy Osborne | AFP | Getty Images
Industry watchers believe the ultimate augmented reality device would use clear lenses and be closer in weight to a pair of glasses, but the underlying technology isn’t there yet.
There are still questions about the cost of the headset and what it will do. Some reports pegged its potential retail price at around $3,000, which would be more than twice as expensive as a new iPhone model and could limit sales. Apple plans to release augmented reality versions of its iPhone apps for the headset, according to the report.
Apple isn’t the only tech giant wanting to release a mixed reality headset. Last week, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg previewed a virtual reality headset called “Project Cambria,” which will have pass-through augmented reality. Meta is also currently selling a $300 virtual reality headset called Quest. Meanwhile, Google showed off a prototype smart glasses last week that translates foreign languages in real time.
Apple has never confirmed it was developing a headset, but it has hired thousands of workers in a division called Technology Design Group, which works on virtual reality and augmented reality technology. So far, Apple has released software for iPhone called ARkit, which allows apps to overlay digital images through the iPhone’s camera.
The company is hosting its annual developer conference called WWDC virtually next month, with a keynote presentation that often includes new product announcements. Apple also holds fall launch events for new iPhones.
An Apple representative declined to comment.