Apple Working on Augmented Reality Headset
Apple is working on an augmented reality headset with a focus on gaming, media and communication. Gurman’s January report details a number of functions, including the headset doubling as a connected display for Macs and more realistic avatar chat for one-on-one FaceTime calls.
The headset will include two Mac-level M2 processors for unprecedented computing power in a wearable device. It will also feature a wireless audio system.
What is an AR Headset?
An augmented reality headset is a device worn on the head that allows the user to view images and information superimposed on their surroundings. The device is typically connected to a smartphone that serves as the source for the AR experience. It can also be a standalone headset that houses the screen of a phone (known as hands-free AR) or an AR-enabled computer.
AR is not to be confused with virtual reality, which completely immerses the wearer in a fake environment using hardware like VR glasses. Its reliance on real-world data, however, can provide a more realistic experience than virtual one. In military applications, the AR headset is used to render useful battlefield data on a soldier’s goggles to aid their navigation and battle perspective. This can be in the form of a virtual map, a 3D image or video or information about various objects including people and vehicles that they are encountering on their way to their destination.
Some headsets are designed to be as small and portable as eyeglasses for maximum convenience. Other AR headsets are larger and require a separate computer for operation. Some AR headsets support augmented reality headset gesture recognition and voice control. Others feature a camera that can recognize and identify objects. They can also be equipped with GPS, accelerometers, gyroscopes and QR-code scanners for easy integration with other digital devices.
AR Headset Features
A typical AR headset features a head-mounted display that overlays virtual information on the real world. It also has a tracking system to track the movement of the wearer’s eyes and hands for control and navigation purposes. The headset may have an integrated microphone for voice interaction with the AR application. It may also have a battery to power the device and a wireless connection to transmit data between it and a mobile phone for display on the headset’s screen.
Apple is reportedly working on its own augmented reality headset, which will feature both VR and AR capabilities. The company will reportedly offer the headset as an accessory to the iPad and Mac, with an option to pair an iPhone during setup for data transfer purposes.
According to rumors, the Apple headset will have eight camera modules that enable see-through augmented reality experiences for the user. It will reportedly be capable of detecting the user’s hands and facial features, enabling lifelike avatars. It will also use foveated rendering to conserve power by only displaying high-resolution images directly where the eye is looking.
The headset is reportedly being developed by a team of experts led by Clay Bavor, who oversees Google’s Project Iris and manages the company’s ultra-high-resolution video chat booth known as Project Starline. It is reportedly based on the design of the Oculus Quest and HTC Vive headsets.
AR Headset Applications
The AR headset displays holograms in the real augmented reality headset world overlaid on top of the user’s environment. It can also display immersive, entirely virtual content. AR headsets can be worn by the user like eyeglasses or a pair of sunglasses, or they can be mounted on a helmet.
An AR headset can be used for many applications, including gaming, education, business, and entertainment. It can also be used for medical purposes to assist with procedures and treatment. It is also used in training for military and other jobs. For example, AR is used to display information for pilots in the cockpit, such as aircraft data and the horizon line, as well as for ground troops during simulated combat.
It is also useful for home decor, as it allows users to visualize furniture and other decorations in their homes before making a purchase. It can also be used for navigation, with the user’s location, maps, routes, and other information displayed on a transparent screen in front of the user.
Apple is working on its own AR headset, with reports stating it may launch in 2024. The device is said to be similar to the forthcoming headsets from Meta and Google, but with a lighter design that doesn’t require a tether to a computer. The company is reportedly ramping up work on the headset, and it has shared early prototypes with a few high-profile software developers for testing.
AR Headset Market
The AR headset market is a burgeoning space, with big technology companies such as Google and Apple gearing up to launch their own versions of the product. It is a high-tech, immersive experience that allows users to interact with the digital world in a natural way by providing them with virtual objects and data on their real-world surroundings. It has already captured the attention of investors and entrepreneurs alike, with Magic Leap receiving USD 798.5 million in funding from big-name investors including Alibaba Group, Horizon Ventures, Ningbo GQY, and Banyan Capital, among others. Corning International, which is a well-known screen solution provider with its patented Gorilla Glass, has also received USD 250 million from Apple to develop display solutions for smart glasses.
A number of players are entering the augmented reality headset market and expanding their operations across different regions. The major players are implementing various strategies such as new product launches and developments, partnerships, contracts, expansions, acquisitions, and divestment to maintain their position in the market.
The augmented reality headset market is divided into three categories based on the type of headset. The standalone headsets offer an immersive experience without the need for a system or smartphone. On the other hand, tethered headsets are connected to a system for the transmission of the virtual experience. The third category is the mobile AR headset, which uses a smartphone as the source for the augmented reality content.