Multiple rumors have claimed the upcoming Apple VR/AR headset will have its own app store, and access to third-party apps. But a new report from The Information claims Apple wants to give “people who don’t know how to computer code” the ability to make their own apps — through the power of Siri.
The same report says that health and wellness are key areas of focus for Apple's headset. The Information cites four people who claimed to have worked on the headset, which is expected to be called the Apple Reality Pro.
Health and wellness big focus for Reality Pro
As also reported by The Information, health and wellness is a big area of focus for the new Apple headset.
"People familiar with Apple’s content strategy for the headset say Apple executives are emphasizing health and wellness including proposals for AR apps that assist with meditation and exercise. One early AR demo allowed users to sit inside a Zen garden, the four people said.
Another early Apple demo for executives allowed users to walk through the Dr. Seuss book “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” by blending its fantastical environment with the real world, according to three people familiar with it."
Health and fitness are also key areas for the Meta Quest 2. For example, our own fitness Sam Hopes has tried the Tripp meditation app for the headset, which combines immersive VR gaming with captivating and engaging worldscapes. And there's several boxing apps for fitness, such as Liteboxer VR.
A new use for Siri
Apparently, the Siri-based system would be an “easy way for users to build their own augmented reality apps” and publish them to the App Store.
Siri reportedly will enable users to build things based on real-world objects. This involved the ability to “scan and import real-world objects into the headset so they can be accurately represented in 3D and behave as they would in real life." So none of the pain of designing virtual objects from scratch.
It sounds pretty far-fetched at first, but that’s not necessarily the case. The Reality Pro headset is expected to come with a huge number of cameras and sensors, which will be able to scan and detect real-world objects to ensure AR features work correctly. Meta, the biggest name in consumer VR and AR headsets right now, also allows users to build 3D environments for Horizon Worlds without any coding.
Analysis: For Apple's headset, it's all about the apps
A product like the Reality Pro can live or die on its app support, because without it there's no incentive for people to go out and buy one for themselves. Especially if there's a more established competitor that can offer the things users want.
Just look at Windows Phone, which offered a distinct and useful interface, but lacked the same level of app support afforded by Android and iPhones. No matter how good those phones might have been, the fact you couldn't get services like YouTube or Snapchat without resorting to sketchy-looking third-party apps meant competitors had a huge advantage.
Giving users the chance to create their own apps using the Apple headset’s own features would be a massive boost for the Reality Pro. It doesn’t matter if the majority of those apps are incredibly simplistic, it means the success of Apple’s headset isn’t necessarily at the mercy of developers.
Plus, as we’ve seen with PC gaming’s modding community, people can get incredibly creative when they’re given access to the right tools. So it’ll be very interesting to see what people can come up with, especially if Apple offers a simple approval process to have those apps published on the App Store.
The Apple Reality Pro is tipped to launch as soon as this March, ready to launch sometime later this year. However, current reports point towards the headset having a $3,000 price tag, which may well price out the majority of casual users. Stay tuned, and we’ll bring you more about the headset as we hear it.