Apple’s second-generation VR headset is already in the works

Apple’s first mixed reality headset hasn’t even been released yet, but the company is already working on a second-generation model that will bring even more power and performance to the table, according to a new report. That suggests we might not have to wait long for the successor device to hit shelves.

The news comes from Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman in his Power On newsletter. Gurman claims that the first edition of the headset – likely to be dubbed the Reality Pro – will come with the same M2 chip that powers the latest MacBook Air, as well as a separate chip capable of supporting augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality Experiences (VR) will handle.

Render Apple headsets. Ahmed Chenni,

However, this chip is “not powerful enough to output graphics at a level that Apple ideally wants,” according to Gurman. The reporter cites the example of FaceTime calls made with the Reality Pro headset, which will only be able to create realistic VR representations of participants in one-on-one calls, with simpler Memoji defaulting to larger meetings.

Apple has also increasingly focused on gaming, and it’s likely that the Reality Pro’s graphics output won’t be powerful enough to fully support this new direction.

A More Powerful Successor A rendering of the potential Apple headset from The Information.

What is Apple planning to do about it? Gurman’s newsletter explains that Apple is already working on a second-gen Reality Pro successor that will feature a beefier processor, which could potentially be the M3 or M4 chip. That should offer stronger graphics performance closer to what Apple initially envisioned for the Reality Pro.

And if Apple has started work on that next model, as Gurman claims, the gap between the first and second Reality Pro headsets might not be that long. If you are interested in the device and want top performance, it might be worth waiting a little longer for the successor product.

This second-generation model differs from the cheaper headset that Apple also has up its sleeve. This device – rumored to be called the Reality One – will likely use low-end chips and display tech to bring the $3,000 price tag that the Reality Pro is expected to come with.

Gurman believes Apple originally intended the Reality Pro to be much more powerful, for example by including a “separate hub” that could output better power and stream content across a room to the headset. However, Jony Ive reportedly vetoed the idea before leaving the company in 2019.

No iPhone required Ahmed Chenni,

The Power On newsletter also touched on how the Reality Pro might not need an iPhone to pair with and could download your content directly from iCloud. However, you can transfer data from an iPhone or iPad, just like the initial setup of a new Apple device.

Gurman also outlined Apple’s plans to let users type in mid-air on a virtual keyboard while using the headset. While that’s available in current prototypes, it’s apparently quite spirited. We’ll have to see how well it performs when the device is released, which is expected to happen at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June.

It’s been a bumpy road for Apple’s mixed reality headset, with reports of problematic features and delayed launch windows littering the path. However, Apple is patenting some pretty neat ideas for its headset that could help it stand out from the competition. We’ll have to see if it impresses or not when it takes the spotlight at WWDC this summer.

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