Microsoft and Meta are two tech companies that are pushing the metaverse movement forward with their own mixed reality headsets and developing metaverse spaces. However, Apple isn't too far behind. The company has been ramping up the production of its own future AR/VR headsets. The headsets were expected to come out in a few years, but now they might come out within a year.
Microsoft's HoloLens 2 headset is one of the most advanced mixed reality headsets on the market, but it comes with a heavy price tag. The headsets can cost around $3,500. Meta’s Oculus Quest 2 is more cost-friendly at approximately $350. The Apple headsets might cost somewhere between the price of the Quest 2 and HoloLens 2. Apple's headsets will still provide some of the newest technology you can find in the mixed reality industry.
What will Apple's mixed reality headsets offer?
The Apple MR headset will likely come out first, followed by the Apple glasses. Both headsets will feature AR technology. The glasses will focus more on augmented reality, while the headset will offer a more versatile mixed reality experience.
The headset will be bulkier than the glasses and might resemble the look of the Meta’s Oculus Quest device. The Oculus Quest 2 is currently the number one selling VR headset, according to Statista. The device has a common VR headset build with VR goggles in the front and a head strap in the back. Users can play games, work out, watch videos, attend events in the metaverse, and more with the Quest 2.
Similar to how Apple makes its own chips for its mobile and computer products, the headset will have its own chip. Recently, Apple dropped Intel as its chip manufacturer for phones and computers made after late 2020. Now, newer phone models use the A series processing chips, while the Macs and Macbooks use the M series chips.
The MR device might use its own chip that's even more powerful and efficient than the M1 processor. It's expected to be released for sale in late 2022 for approximately $3,000.
Apple AR glasses are still in the early stages of development.
While Apple has been working on both the headset and glasses projects, the AR glasses are a newer concept and are still in the earlier stages of development. According to Bloomberg, the Apple glasses will come out much later than the headset. In the best-case scenario, the glasses might come out in 2023. Fortunately, the glasses will likely be cheaper and much easier to wear since they will resemble the build of prescription glasses.
The glasses have an estimated price of around $499. They will cost more if users want to put prescription lenses into the frames. The glasses will have their own operating system, an “rOS” (reality operating system), similar to how the iPhones have iOS and Macs have MacOS. While the headset will be able to operate without having to use a paired phone, the glasses might have to be paired to a phone for full capability.