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Apple mixed reality headset breakthrough could blow away Meta Quest

apple mixed reality headset
(Image credit: Future)

The rumored Apple VR and mixed reality headset has potential to become a big hit, considering that it's reportedly set to get hand gesture controls and object detection. That's right — you wouldn't need clunky controllers, as you do with the current Oculus Quest 2 from Meta.

The latest info comes from the reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (via MacRumors), who also recently claimed that Apple's potential mixed reality headset could weigh as little as 300 to 400 grams

According to Kuo, the device is expected to feature "highly sensitive 3D sensing modules" that could enable the aforementioned features. 

"The AR/MR headset can detect not only the position change of the user or other people’s hand and object in front of the user's eyes but also the dynamic detail change of the hand," he predicts. To put it simply, the technology could work similar to how your iPhone recognizes your face movements and expressions through Face ID.  

Kuo claims that capturing hand movement in precise detail can deliver "a more intuitive and vivid human-machine UI." This could open the door for new immersive experiences. As an example, Kuo suggested when users change their hand from a clenched fist to an opened hand, the machine could track this movement and create an image of a balloon floating away as if released.

In order to make these types of experiences possible, it's expected that Apple's headset will include four sets of 3D sensors that are stronger than those that found in the current iPhone models. This could potentially give people the ability to control the UI without the use of any sort of external controllers by instead detecting things like micro-gestures, eye movement, change in expression and voice control. 

Meta (the company formerly known as Facebook) is working on a new upscale mixed reality headset of its own, which is codenamed Cambria for now, and it appears the company is focusing on two main areas. First, it will be able to capture your facial expressions in real time to convey emotion. Cambria will also offer augmented reality features, with the ability to represent objects in the physical world with a sense of depth.

However, we haven't yet heard whether Meta will be sticking with physical controllers or if it's going the hand recognition and gesture control route. Although, we do know that Google is working on a new AR device

MacRumors also mentioned that a patent application spotted by Patently Apple earlier this year references something called "Devices, Methods, and Graphical User Interfaces for Interacting with Three-Dimensional Environments" that describes a similar concept. 

Of course, there's been no official word from Apple just yet, but if Kuo's claims do come in fruition, we'd say that this device could earn a spot in our best VR headset roundup.

Cupertino's mixed reality products is one of the many Apple products that could be announced in 2022. Beyond next year, Apple is also said to be working on an Apple Glasses product that would use augmented reality and ship sometime in 2023.

Denise is a news writer at Tom’s Guide covering all things tech, gaming software/hardware, streaming, and more. She regularly produces short-form news articles as well as long-form content, including reviews, buying guides, how-tos, and features. When she's not live-streaming horror games on Twitch, she can be found exploring East London while playing Pokemon Go. She’s also a part-time piano enthusiast and regularly experiments in the kitchen. You can reach her at denise.primbet@futurenet.com.