Last year, we reported that Apple’s first major hardware product, which is the much-anticipated mixed-reality headset, is expected to be likely announced in January 2023.
Now, a new report from Bloomberg has revealed that the Cupertino-based company is wrapping up the development of the mixed reality (AR/VR) headset ahead of the 2023 launch.
Apple is “planning to unleash its own pricey device with advanced chips, displays, sensor, and avatar-based features as early as next year,” said Mark Gurman in his latest Bloomberg “Power On” newsletter.
He also noted that Apple job listings published over the last several months indicate changes made to the team working on the headset, which is Apple’s “Technology Development Group,” normally referred to as TDG.
“A few job listings indicate that Apple is ramping up its work to bolster the device with content. The company is searching for a software producer with experience in visual effects and game asset pipelines who can create digital content for augmented and virtual-reality environments,” the report added.
“The listings also imply that Apple is looking to build a video service for the headset featuring 3D content that can be played in virtual reality.”
Further, Apple’s job listings also highlight that it is looking to bring third-party apps for the mixed-reality headset and is looking to hire engineers who can work on the App Intents framework to help design and implement solutions for services like Shortcuts, Search, Siri, and more.
“We are looking for a software engineer who will work on the App Intents framework to help design and implement solutions to unlock deep system intelligence, enable new developer tools, and facilitate novel user interactions from application data models which are leveraged by a variety of system services such as Shortcuts, Siri, Search, and more,” one job listing for the TDG department says.
The most interesting job listing for the TDG targets engineers who can work on the development of a 3D mixed-reality world implying that Apple is working on a virtual environment similar to the metaverse.
This job listing explains working with other developers to “build tools and frameworks to enable connected experiences in a 3D mixed-reality world.”
It further reads, “You will work closely with Apple’s UI framework, human interface designers and system capabilities teams — pushing you to think outside-the-box, and solve incredibly challenging and interesting problems in the 3D application space.”
With the launch approaching nearer, Apple has moved two key staff to the mixed reality product team, which includes Dave Scott, a former Apple senior manager who worked on the company’s Project Titan self-driving car team until 2021, and Yaniv Gur, a 20-year Apple veteran and senior director of engineering.
Coming to the specs and price of Apple’s AR/VR device, Gurman summed it up based on the information leaked or reported earlier by him or other sources. He said that the headset will feature the recently released M2 chip and have the highest-resolution displays ever featured in a mass-market headset.
The device will come with more than 10 cameras placed outside and inside and run a new operating system dubbed realityOS, which will include mixed-reality versions of core Apple apps like Messages, FaceTime, and Maps.
According to Gurman, the device could either be called “Reality Pro” or “Reality One” and is likely to be priced between $2,000 and $3,000.
Gurman’s report does not mention any specific release date for the mixed reality headset other than “next year”. However, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claims the device could be announced in January 2023 with pre-orders starting in Q2 of 2023 and sales expected to begin sometime around Apple’s June developer conference next year.
Recently, Digitimes reported that Apple is likely to start the mass production of the AR/VR headset in March 2023 and could announce the product just a few weeks later, possibly in April 2023.