Apple’s Augmented Reality Headset
Augmented reality headset is a type of virtual reality device that adds digital images, video or animation to the user’s view of the world. It also enables users to control software applications.
Apple’s augmented reality team includes hardware and software veterans from companies such as Dolby, Lucasfilm, Lytro, Weta Digital and Microsoft. The company has trademarked the name ‘xrOS’ through a shell company.
1. Lightweight and comfortable
In a bid to avoid claustrophobia, the headset will have a low profile and is said to be lightweight. It also comes with adjustable headbands and earphones for comfort. Moreover, the VR-ready headset can track your eye movements and gestures with precise accuracy. It will also have Foveated Rendering, which uses the headset’s cameras to save power by rendering images only in high resolution where your eyes are focused.
The augmented reality headset will be powered by two Mac-level processors, which will bring unprecedented computing power to a wearable device. It will also use external cameras to display your surroundings inside the headset. Additionally, the headset will let you swap between AR and VR with the help of a Digital Crown-like control mechanism.
It will run on visionOS, which is Apple’s first spatial operating system that is designed to feel like iOS. The software will be able to display multiple augmented apps on a virtual desktop that can be moved around, and you’ll be able to connect it to a Mac, so you can edit audio and video content with a keyboard and mouse.
The augmented reality headset will feature a front-facing display that shows your face to people augmented reality headset around you, which should help reduce feelings of isolation. It will also have a Fit Dial that lets you adjust the headset’s fit, and a Light Seal that blocks stray light.
2. High-resolution display
Apple is reportedly building the headset with displays that deliver a high-resolution, immersive experience. The headset will use two 4K micro OLED displays that pack a whopping 23 million pixels into each eye for a stunning, lifelike view. That’s more than double the resolution of Meta’s best VR headset and almost triple that of Varjo Aero.
The headset will also feature a standard outer indicator display using LG Display’s OLEDoS technology. Inside, Apple will include an array of cameras that monitor the wearer’s eyes and hands. The camera sensors will be able to recognize facial expressions, skin color, and spatial detection for a more personal, engaging user experience. Apple is also including several 3D-sensing modules that will allow for better gesture recognition, a built-in voice command capability, and other features to help users navigate and interact with their environments.
Unlike other virtual reality headsets, the new Apple device will be able to function independently of an iPhone or Mac. The headset will come with a special “xrOS” operating system designed specifically for this device, and Apple will encourage developers to create augmented reality and virtual reality apps for the platform.
While the headset will support VR, it will primarily focus on AR capabilities. It will be able to swap between AR and VR through a Digital Crown-like control mechanism, similar to the way users can switch between an iPad’s various modes with a physical button.
The headset is designed to be a high-resolution, immersive experience. It will feature two 4K micro OLED displays with a 120-degree field of view and 3D-sensing modules that detect hand gestures and objects. It will also support voice control and spatial audio through paired AirPods.
According to patent applications, the headset will include multiple cameras for tracking the user’s head and body movements as well as capturing facial features. It will have precise eye tracking and perform foveated rendering to conserve power by only displaying images at full resolution where the user is looking. It will also be able to track a user’s gaze on an avatar and display that information on the virtual screen.
Apple’s AR/VR headset will not require an iPhone to function, though it will support wireless tethering. The device will also have a built-in microphone and speakers for communicating with other users in the headset and a headphone jack for audio guiding.
There are a variety of uses for this type of technology, including retail, healthcare, and entertainment. For example, consumers can use augmented reality to see how products will look in their home before making a purchase online. Similarly, surgeons can see critical patient data and digital images projected on the operating table while performing surgery. These tools can help reduce costs by improving efficiency and accuracy.
The headset will have a home screen with apps that will look familiar to Apple’s iPhone, iPad, and Mac users. A version of Safari will allow browsing, a News app will show current events, and Messages will display notifications and texts. Apple will also bring its FaceTime experience to the headset so users can chat with others in a 3D avatar that displays their actual face and body.
Users will be able to navigate the system with a hand controller, and the headset will also have sensors that can detect the movement of a user’s eyes. This information will help a built-in camera direct the augmented reality headset view of the surrounding environment. The headset will not need an iPhone to function, but it can be connected to one for data transfer and as a keyboard when needed.
In addition to an internal battery, the headset will use a pair of external cameras that provide a more accurate video representation of the surrounding environment. The headset will also include a dedicated ISP that can quickly translate distorted images captured by the internal and external cameras to a faithful video representation without latency.
The headset will use a set of Apple-designed SoCs that are optimized for wireless data transfer, compressing and decompressing video, and power efficiency. They’re designed to run the augmented reality and virtual reality functions of the headset. The company has been trademarking a new software operating system called xrOS through a shell company, and it’s believed the headset will launch with a special App Store for these apps.