The news is pretty significant that Apple is still preparing a VR headset with strong AR-focused features for release as early as 2022.
My colleague David Heaney and I have been discussing this possibility for years now. Does Apple CEO Tim Cook truly see the potential in VR? Or is he too blinded by the need for a large market to make the investment needed to bridge the gap toward great AR glasses? How intelligent will Apple’s environmental recognition be? Will the company go standalone or have a system that needs a nearby device to operate? What about an optional connection to a Mac or PC? Will Apple’s headset be capable of running Half-Life: Alyx in standalone mode? How much of an advantage will Apple’s in-house silicon chips provide? How can Apple compete with Facebook if there is a huge gap in price between each company’s offerings? How will Apple differentiate its product? Will the company make exercise a focus of its offering?
Will Apple even follow through and actually ship the headset? Is Apple already too late to the game?
The latest reports point to Apple developing a standalone VR headset with strong AR features and a hefty price tag. A lot can change, however, as the device approaches its launch window and Apple could still kill the product entirely. The company is reportedly not expecting to sell many VR headsets in its first iteration either, and many believe that wear-anywhere AR is the larger market opportunity. So Cook may feel pressure to focus on AR instead. Still, developers need time to develop new experiences for AR and a VR headset with a strong understanding of its surroundings could make that possible. Facebook is already on that path with the Oculus Quest and attacking the transition from another direction with forthcoming glasses.
On Monday, January 24 at 1 pm Pacific, Heaney and I will be going live in our virtual recording studio to discuss all of this. It is sure to be a lively discussion.
We can read YouTube comments live in our studio so we can interact with our audience. If you have a good question or comment to add there’s a good chance we’ll read it out live during the show and incorporate it into our discussion. Heaney is over in Ireland and I’m in the middle of the United States, but we’re using the latest technologies from Facebook to power our studio and interact with one another as if we are in the same room together. We’ve got a pretty impressive implementation of Facebook’s hand tracking technology and the software runs entirely in standalone mode. Overall, it’ll make a fantastic venue in which to discuss what Apple might be able to do better than Facebook.
We’d love for you to tune in. We’ll be live at broadcast time in the video below, and if you have any thoughts to share before the show about Apple and VR, please share them in the comments at the bottom of this post.
You can listen to past episodes of the VR Download on your podcasting platform of choice or watch past episodes as well. You can see lots of our past archived streams over in our YouTube playlist or even all livestreams here on UploadVR. And be sure to subscribe to us on YouTube to stay up-to-date on our latest videos.