May 21 update below. This article was first published on May 18, 2023.
Only a few weeks have passed before the expected unveiling of Apple’s mixed reality headset, likely called Reality or Reality Pro. Although Apple hasn’t talked about the product, it’s expected to be revealed during the keynote that will kick off this year’s WWDC at 10 a.m. PT on Monday, June 5.
May 21 update. Bloomberg’s Mark Gorman, in his latest book Power-Up Bulletin, a bunch of new information about Apple’s next headset. There are many more, but here are some of the most interesting. It includes a welcome confirmation of the eye-catching screen which I love.
First, he says that thousands of Apple employees are working on the headphones, including engineers, executives and people involved in marketing. Apple is a big company, but that number is still very impressive.
What’s remarkable is how long Apple worked on this product. If Gorman is right, it was “over seven years of effort.” Which means it was part of Apple’s roadmap soon after the first Apple Watch was announced, or maybe even earlier.
Those involved with the headset include “executives from the company’s technology development group, the secret team behind the device.” Leaving aside the fact that you probably don’t need to say a secret word because it’s a no-brainer with Apple, I’d say the list of people is quite interesting. It features Jony Ive, a design legend who has since left the company. Says Gurman, “Although I had a part-time job at Apple when the headset first started, he has been involved with the project since its inception. Exactly when I reduced his workload to him has become a matter of debate, and I personally think he maintained a tighter grip on the design for longer than Gorman thinks. But I’m sure he’s right when he says “He also pushed for a portable design, without an external base station. Next, and here’s what I’m happy about, Gorman says I also pushed for “an external display that lets you see through the user’s eyes.” In other words, contrary to John Gruber’s assertion below, Gurman does not imply that the outside show is a joke society.
I also wanted “a smooth transition between virtual reality and augmented reality”.
Interestingly, Gorman also spilled a previously unknown bean, saying the smooth transition is achieved through a dial-like interface, “via an Apple Watch-inspired digital crown.” Such a design makes sense: the AirPods Pro Max have an enlarged Digital Crown button.
Others involved include Mike Rockwell, who has apparently been on the team since 2016 and who, according to a person involved in development, is “an absolute genius, and if anyone can do it, it’s him. “. Other names make the list, including chief operating officer Jeff Williams and chief marketing officer Greg Joswiak. Well, that would be very surprising if they weren’t engaged, but they’re both pretty good at what they do, so that’s good to know.
I’m sure there will be more leaks ahead of the scheduled June 5 reveal, so check back for more. Now back to the other findings of Gurmand and John Gruber.
May 20 update. John Gruber of Daring Fireball fame and well-connected Apple has a lot to say about the new headphones. Everything does not satisfy.
Let’s start with the good stuff. He is convinced, like me, that Apple will announce the new headphones at WWDC. Here is his reasoning: “I think the helmet will be announced at WWDC. There is too much smoke to be a fire. And, apparently, behind the scenes, Apple isn’t quietly trying to moderate expectations for the headset. The same thing happened with the iPhone before Macworld Expo 2007 – Rumors swirled that an Apple phone was finally coming, and no one source has heard that it won’t. I agree with all of that. Of course, developers watching the WWDC keynote are an ideal audience for such a reveal.
Timing could be an issue – there’s an awful lot of shows to announce during DubDub’s keynote – but Gruber thinks this will be handled with a hyper-fast presentation that stuffs a lot, something made more manageable by Covid than the main recorded form of film. Gruber says, “Apple doesn’t like to run keywords for more than two hours… Here’s the thing though: Post-COVID keywords aren’t just pre-recorded, they’re very tightly edited. I guess we’ll get a keyword that always happens. In less than 2 hours, even with a full 40 minute clip advertising both the headset and xrOS. You will go fast. Integrating the xrOS headset and development frameworks into the old WWDC keynote on stage would be a problem. I don’t think that’s a problem with the new “Keynote movie” format. We’re not going to walk away from the keynote thinking it was too long; we’re going to come out of it feeling dizzy because it’s going to cover so much, and fast. »
As Gruber says, there will likely be a lot of undisclosed stuff in the keynote that will be posted online next. This is where the really interesting details are revealed.
But Gruber also thinks the feature I like the most, the helmet front screen we talked about below, won’t happen. He refers to this feature as “googly eyes”. He explains, “I would buy that rumored head-up display if there was a Cylon mode. Otherwise, I’d stick to my earlier understanding that this was an inside joke taken for real; that it would look clumsy rather than human; and that while it didn’t look silly, it wouldn’t make sense to add the financial cost of a screen. external to an already expensive device, let alone bear the battery drain to run that external display on a device with an already limited battery. »
Well, I was disappointed with that, but I would also say that Gorman isn’t often wrong about this stuff, and I don’t recall him ever mistaking a joke for something serious. I guess we will find out on June 5th. Fingers crossed.
Bloomberg’s Mark Gorman, in a new general report, revealing plenty of details believed to apply to the new device, from the expected high price tag to some of the flashy features, including the unique Apple headset feature. Here are the main points of the report.
It will cost you $3,000
And if you think it’s expensive, keep in mind that this price is based on the fact that Apple sells it roughly at cost. That’s a hefty price, though it won’t always be that expensive, says Gorman: “Internal expectations give it the potential to eventually become as big as an iPad or an Apple Watch as the company adds features and lowers the price with later versions. . »
It’s an ambitious group
“Apple’s ambition is for customers to eventually wear the device continuously throughout the day,” Gurman says. Replace everyday tasks They are done on your iPhone or Mac, like playing games, surfing the web, sending emails, making FaceTime video calls while collaborating on apps, exercising and even while meditating. It will be Hand and Eye Control function and run many types of apps found on other Apple devices. Other reports said it would work with all iPadOS apps.
You will sell close to a million
That’s the sales estimate, 900,000, after Apple realized it was likely a niche device to begin with. Previously, I thought he could sell up to 3 million.
It’s a bet
According to the report, Michael Gartenberg, a former Apple marketing director turned independent consultant, warns that the device could be “one of the biggest tech flops of all time”, citing the lack of a real market for the devices. mixed reality headsets and Magic Leap. hardware performance and HoloLens. “I think there’s a lot of internal pressure for the next big thing,” he says.
Portability is key
Internal discussions swung between a headset and a separate Mac mini-sized docking station for a power boost. Still, says Gorman, Jony Ive, who appears to have been involved with the project until nearly a year ago, “preferred a self-contained, ultra-portable device, even if that meant sacrificing some performance.” END. Apple finally creates a product that isolates humans from each other. »
The result is meant to be a compromise between the two views, as “outdoor video cameras capture their surroundings and display it onscreen when users switch the headset from VR mode to AR mode, a feature known as” video passthrough “”.
Which leads to a very interesting feature
It’s unique. Staying connected to the real world has been a priority for the way people use the headset and that means a cool feature will be added unlike any other headset. In order to keep headset wearers connected to the real world, the device will have an external display that will show their eye movements and facial expressions. Apple sees this feature as a key differentiator of the bundled VR headsets. External monitors allow people to interact with the headset. wearer, said a person familiar with the device. head without feeling like you’re talking to a robot.
How exactly this will work – or what it will look like – is anyone’s guess, but it looks cool and if Apple gets it right I imagine this could be a very interesting device.
What does that mean?
First of all: never. underestimate. apple.
Second, remember that everyone was wrong about the price of the iPad. In 2010, prices of $999 and up were predicted for Apple’s first tablet, and they were less than half of those prices when Steve Jobs announced them. I’m not saying I think the price of this speaker will be much lower than expected, but watch this space.
And third, Apple supports its product categories for the long haul. The first Apple Watch, the first iPhone didn’t beat the market in terms of sales, but with the third generation everything changed. I don’t think a company will release a product if they don’t believe in it. While I don’t think the headset will ever replace the iPhone, it will add another screen for another set of functions, just like the Mac and Apple Watch screens are respectively larger and smaller than the iPhone .