Apple’s Upcoming AR/VR Headset Will Be INSANE

Michael Grothaus

04/05/2018 – 2:41pm

The 8K device won’t need to be tethered to a computer.

Apple has long been rumored to be working on a virtual reality headset.

Way back in 2015 small rumors began appearing that suggested Apple had a very small team of people looking into a smart glasses device like Google’s now-defunct Google Glass.

However, the rumors suggested the team was so small and the project so inconsequential that it was no more than an afterthought in Apple’s collective mind.

But over the course of the last several years, Apple began acquiring firms that deal in technology that could be used in virtual or augmented reality: Metaio, an augmented reality startup; real-time motion capture firm Faceshift; and expression analysis startup Emotient.

Of course, those firm’s tech could be put to use in non-AR or VR devices. It’s almost a given that some of the firm’s tech was used in the creation of Apple’s Face ID system and its Animoji glyphs.

But Tim Cook also hasn’t been shy saying how excited he is for the future of augmented reality and virtual reality devices. Speaking to Good Morning America in 2016, the Apple CEO said:

“There’s virtual reality and there’s augmented reality — both of these are incredibly interesting. But my own view is that augmented reality is the larger of the two, probably by far, because this gives the capability for both of us to sit and be very present, talking to each other, but also have other things — visually — for both of us to see. Maybe it’s something we’re talking about, maybe it’s someone else here who’s not here present but who can be made to appear to be present.”

And now, we finally have some news that Apple is actively deep into the development of a combined AR/VR headset. The headset is reportedly codenamed T288, according to CNET.

It will reportedly sport a massive 8K display for EACH eye, giving it unparalleled clarity. Even more astonishing, Apple’s AR/VR headset is rumored to work independently of other devices. Most current high-end AR/VR headsets need to be tether to a gaming system or a PC.

That’s because current AR/VR headsets can’t pack the hardware or graphics processing power in the headset itself, nor can they eek out enough battery life without being connected to a constant power source.

According to rumors, Apple’s AR/VR headset has surmounted all these obstacles. To be clear, Apple’s AR/VR headset would need to communicate with a separate computer–but it won’t need to be physically tethered to the device.

Instead, the AR/VR headset will wireless talk to the separate box using a high-speed short-range wireless technology called 60GHz WiGig. The box itself will be powered by a custom Apple chip that is only 5-nanometers and that’s “more powerful than anything currently available,” says CNET:

The future of VR is expected to be cordless devices — and Apple wants to bring its trademark simplicity to the setup. The box would use a wireless technology called 60GHz WiGig, the person familiar with Apple’s plans said. A second-generation version, called 802.11ay, would boost speeds and range and make the technology more attractive for high-end VR headsets that aren’t tethered to computers.

What’s more is users will not need to install special cameras in their room to tell the headset where they are in location to it and surrounding objects–Apple’s headset will have all this tech built into it.

As for a release date, the rumored Apple AR/VR headset is set to debut in 2020.

[Images: Apple/USPTO]

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