The first Apple VR headset hasn’t been released yet — in fact, the company hasn’t even confirmed it exists. But as always, the Apple rumor mill keeps spinning, and we already have news of a reported sequel to the unannounced mixed reality device.
Worryingly though, things aren’t sounding good for the first Reality Pro. According to the latest rumor, Apple has already started working on the successor because it couldn’t go right with the first headset. And that leaves us wondering what the point of it will be (check out the best Apple deals for discounts on current products).
A render showing what the Apple Reality Pro VR headset might look like (Image credit: Ian Zelbo/Future owns)
We’re used to Apple rumors quickly moving on to the next products as soon as a new device launches. As soon as the iPhone 14 was in stores, the rumors about the iPhone 15 began in earnest. But in this case, we’re hearing rumors of the second generation of an entirely new Apple product category before the first has even been officially announced.
Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reports in his Power On newsletter (opens in new tab) that the first Reality Pro, due out later this year, isn’t performing as Apple originally intended, at least graphically. Gurman suggests that this year’s device will feature the same M2 chip as the latest MacBook Air and MacBook Pro 13, plus a separate chip to power the augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) experiences.
But apparently that turned out to be less powerful than Apple intended. According to Gurman, the chip “isn’t powerful enough to output graphics at a level that Apple ideally wants.” He says FaceTime calls on the headset can only create realistic VR representations of participants in one-on-one calls and default to Memoji, Apple’s personalized Animoji, when it comes to calls with more people. It also sounds like Reality Pros’ graphics performance isn’t enough to get Apple into gaming either.
Renderings of the alleged Apple Reality Pro VR headset (Image credit: Ahmed Chenni, Freelancer.com)
According to Gurman, Apple initially considered adding a “separate hub” to output better performance and stream content across a room to the headset. That idea was scrapped and instead Apple is reportedly already working on a second-gen Reality Pro with a more powerful processor (maybe M3 or M4) to deliver the desired graphics performance.
This raises the question of whether it makes sense to buy the Pro Reality Mark One. If Apple has realized the graphics aren’t what it wants and plans to release a follow-up relatively soon after the original, it sounds like it might be worth waiting a little longer before it hits $3,000 – spends dollars on it.
A rendering of the alleged Apple VR headset (Image credit: Antonio de Rosa / Apple (Logo))
We heard last week that the Reality Pro’s announcement was delayed due to hardware and software issues. Another issue Gurman mentioned concerns a feature that would allow users to type air on a virtual keyboard. Apparently, this has proven to be quite temperamental with prototypes.
In the latest Power On newsletter, Gurman also suggests that Reality Pro may not need to be paired with an iPhone and may be able to download content directly from iCloud. We shouldn’t have to wait too long to find out. It is now widely expected that Apple will officially unveil Pro Reality at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June.
The headset is expected to be priced similar to Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 at around $3,000. Apple is also said to be working on a cheaper VR headset, rumored to be called Reality One. This is expected to pack low-end tech at a more affordable price point. Both will be relatively late entries in a market that’s already crowded (see below or our guide to the best VR headsets for other options).
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