Apple’s board of directors last week unveiled a preview of its mixed-reality headset, according to Bloomberg, suggesting that its next major new product division could be launched soon.
For Apple, launching a product division could open up new markets and potentially recreate the iPhone’s world-changing 2007 launch. But if its headset is poorly received, it could renew concerns about the company’s product vision and performance.
Its last major new product segment, the Apple Watch, was previewed in the fall of 2014 and released the following year.
Bloomberg describes the device as a mixed-reality headset, explaining that it will use the camera on the outside to stream images to a high-resolution display inside a virtual reality headset, a technique known as “pass-through” augmented reality.
An augmented reality feature shows Apple Park closing on November 17, 2017 at the Apple Park Visitor Center in Cupertino, California.
Amy Osborne | AFP | Getty Images
Industry observers believe that the ultimate device will use a transparent lens for augmented reality and will be close to the weight of a pair of glasses, but the underlying technology is not yet there.
There are still questions about how much the headset will cost and what it will do. Some reports put the potential retail price at around $ 3,000, which is more than twice as expensive as a new iPhone model and could limit sales. Apple plans to release an augmented reality version of its iPhone app for headsets, the report said.
Apple is not the only technology giant aimed at unveiling a mixed-reality headset. Last week, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg unveiled a virtual reality headset called “Project Cambria,” which will be a pass-through augmented reality. Meta currently sells a $ 300 virtual reality headset called Quest. Meanwhile, Google last week previewed a smart glasses prototype that translates foreign languages in real time.
Apple has never confirmed that it is building a headset, but it has hired thousands of employees in a department called Technology Design Group, which works on virtual reality and augmented reality technology. So far, Apple has unveiled software for iPhones called ARkit, which allows apps to overlay digital images with the iPhone’s camera.
The company is virtually hosting its annual developer conference next month called WWDC, with a keynote presentation that often includes announcements of new products. Apple also has an autumn launch event for the new iPhone.
An Apple spokesman declined to comment.