Apple's Virtual Reality Headset Could Be Delayed To 2023

Heating problems in the helmet due to the two processors and the eight external cameras affect the development of the product.

Five products describe the Apple story: the Mac, the iPod, the iPhone, the iPad, and the Apple Watch. All can be considered a success and, in a way, devices that have come to define the market in which they participate.

The question that many are asking now is what will be next on that list and everything seems to indicate that Apple's next big bet will be augmented reality and virtual reality.

The company, according to TF Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, has been working for years on helmets and glasses capable of superimposing digital elements on the field of vision, an idea that until now has only been promoted in devices such as the iPad or the iPhone and as a secondary application, more of a curiosity than a must-have feature for these devices.

The first of these products, however, would be almost ready to hit the market. The original idea was to put it up for sale this year but, according to Bloomberg , several obstacles in production could delay its launch until 2023.

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The main one is that the prototypes that Apple is testing internally have heating problems due to the processor and cameras it uses. The 300-gram, fabric-covered helmet would look like ski goggles and would feature eight external cameras to capture everything that happens in the field of vision and relay it as a video signal to the screens inside.

Of the device. Eight other sensors will be added to these cameras that will be able to capture the movement of the user's hands to control the different games and applications.

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To control all these sensors, draw virtual objects and display them on the two screens (which, according to rumors, will have 4K resolution), the helmet will use two processors with a power comparable to the M1 Pro that the company includes in its most advanced computers.

Apple's original idea was to integrate these processors into an external module that would wirelessly relay the image to the glasses and make it easier to cool. But finally Apple has opted for a simplified design in which all the components are integrated into the glasses themselves.

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With this level of integration, however, the processors generate too much heat during operation, making it uncomfortable to use the device for long sessions. The company is trying to find ways to dissipate that heat without adding fans or other elements that increase the weight, consumption or noise that the helmet would generate during use.

Apple, according to Bloomberg , has more than 2,000 employees dedicated to this new product, which could eventually be known as Apple Vision or Apple Reality. The glasses will use their own operating system known as rOS for now, and will compete with other virtual reality products on the market, such as Meta's Oculus Quest, although they will be aimed at a somewhat different audience.

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Given the processing capacity and the high resolution of the screens, it is expected that the first glasses will have a high price, close to 2,000 euros, much higher than other alternatives on the market.

These first glasses will be followed in later years by models with transparent lenses that will not depend on cameras to show objects in the user's field of vision.

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