There are only a few short weeks left until the expected launch of Apple’s mixed reality headset, likely to be called Reality or Reality Pro. While Apple hasn’t talked about the product, it’s expected to be revealed in a keynote to kick off this year’s WWDC, at 10am Pacific on Monday, June 5.
Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, in a new and comprehensive report, reveals a lot of details believed to be related to the new device, from the expected high price to some wonderful features, including one that is unique to Apple headphones. Here are the key takeaways from the report.
That will set you back $3,000
And if you think that’s expensive, keep in mind that this price is based on Apple selling it for roughly. That’s a high price, though at least it won’t always be that expensive, Gurman says: “Internal projections give it the potential to eventually be as big as the iPad or the Apple Watch, as the company adds features and lowers the price from the next version.”
It’s an ambitious piece of equipment
Gurman says, “Apple’s ambition is that eventually customers will wear a device continuously all day, replacing daily tasks done on your iPhone or Mac, such as playing games, browsing the web, sending email, making FaceTime video calls while collaborating on apps, exercising, and even meditating. It will they have hand and eye control and run many of the types of apps found on other Apple devices.” Other reports suggest that it will work with all iPadOS apps.
It will sell almost a million
That’s the sales estimate, 900,000, after Apple recognized that it would most likely be a niche device initially. Earlier he thought he could sell as much as 3 million.
According to the report, “Michael Gartenberg, a former Apple marketing executive who is now an 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 mixed reality headsets and the performance of Magic Leap and HoloLens devices. ‘I doubt there’s a lot of internal pressure for the next big thing,’ he says.
Portability is key
Internal discussions took place between the headset with a separate base station the size of a Mac mini to increase the power. However, says Gurman, Jony Ive, who was apparently involved in the project until about a year ago, “preferred a self-contained, maximally portable device, even if it meant sacrificing some performance. He also expressed concern that Apple will end up creating a product that isolates people from each other.”
The result is claimed to be a compromise of the two visions, where “external video cameras would capture their environment and display it on screen when users switch the headset from VR mode to AR mode, a feature known as ‘video pass-through’. ‘ ”
Which leads to a super-cool feature
This is unique. Staying connected to the real world was a priority for how people used the headset, and that meant a brilliant feature was going to be added, unlike any other headset. “In an attempt to engage the headset wearers in the real world, the device will have an outward-facing display that shows eye movements and facial expressions. Apple sees this feature as a key differentiator from closed VR headsets. One person familiar with the device says the external screens allow people to interact with the headset user without feeling like they’re talking to a robot.”
How exactly it will work – or look like – is anyone’s guess, but it sounds amazing and if Apple gets it right, as I imagine, it could be a very fun device.
So what does this mean?
First of all: never. Underestimate. Apple.
Second, let’s remember that everyone got the iPad price wrong. In 2010, prices of $999 and up were predicted for the first Apple tablet and were less than half that when Steve Jobs announced it. I’m not saying that the price of these headphones will be significantly lower than predicted, but definitely watch this space.
And third, Apple supports its product categories for the long haul. The first Apple Watch, the first iPhone did not beat the market in terms of sales, but by the third generation everything changed. I don’t believe a company will release a product unless they believe in it. While I don’t think the headset will ever—ever—replace the iPhone, it will add another screen for another set of features, just as the Mac and Apple Watch have bigger and smaller screens than the iPhone.
Forbes – Innovation