In case there was any doubt that the Apple VR/AR headset is going to debut at WWDC 2023 later today (June 5), it sounds like Apple has built a dedicated space to demo the headset throughout the conference. That’s according to Mark Gurman at Bloomberg, who claims the WWDC demo will focus on the headset’s new “immersive” FaceTime alongside gaming and Apple TV Plus content.
Apparently the Apple headset will feature a bunch of videoconferencing tools to offer an immersive experience — and we expect many of them will translate to FaceTime VR as well. The idea is people will be in a virtual meeting room with realistic avatars, to try and help them feel like they're interacting in the same space.
Productivity video conferencing is said to include work-centric tools like Freeform and virtual whiteboards. That's not what you need when video calling your parents, but it's the kind of thing we should expect to see in a more casual video-calling app like FaceTime.
Gurman claims that, even though the Apple headset is set to be announced during the WWDC keynote, it won’t be released for “several months”. With that in mind the company will apparently offer additional demo sessions throughout the summer months. Gurman didn’t specify when the headset would launch exactly, but we’ve heard possibilities that it could arrive this December.
Whether you’ll be able to get your hands on the Apple mixed reality headset is another matter. Not only is the headset expected to cost $3,000, reports claim that there may only be 300,000 units produced in its first year. To the point where it’s speculated that you may have to book an appointment at the Apple Store to actually try it before you buy.
However Gurman notes that Apple expects to sell 900,000 units a year, which would refute previous reports. You’ll still need to fork out three grand for the headset, though, so it’s absolutely not an impulse purchase.
That means an Apple demo session might be your best chance to use the Apple mixed reality headset until the company releases the cheaper more consumer-friendly model that’s been rumored for some time.
Apple VR/AR headset: What to expect
Gurman’s report also features a rundown of all the other Apple headset details we’ve heard, and what he expects to see when the headset arrives later today.
The Apple VR/AR headset is expected to be an ultra-premium model made of glass, carbon fiber and aluminum — looking like “a high-tech pair of ski goggles”. Charging happens thanks to a new magnetic charger, which is connected to a standalone battery pack to keep weight off the headset itself.
This battery is expected to look like a larger version of Apple’s MagSafe battery pack, and offers around two hours of battery life.
Inside are two 4K panels, which are powered by Apple’s M2 chip alongside 16GB of RAM. From a software side the headset is said to be built around communication, wellness, productivity as well as consuming video and gaming content. Naturally, being a mixed reality device, these experiences will be available in virtual reality and pass-through augmented reality.
The headset will reportedly feature many of the same apps as iPads and iPhones, including Apple’s FaceTime, Maps, Weather, Safari, and others — alongside a new bespoke wellness app. A Fitness Plus workout app is also expected to be coming, alongside optimized versions of third party iPad apps.
Users control the headset with eye and hand controls, though it also features Siri and a version of the Apple Watch’s Digital Crown. Gurman claims the crown will be to toggle between VR and AR modes.
Other notable features include the ability to show a wearer’s facial expression and eyes on the front of the headset. There's also supposed to be an app that lets you use the headset screen as an external Mac monitor.
There's a lot to be excited about with the Apple headset, and you can read everything about it in our Apple VR/AR headset hub. There's plenty more happening at WWDC as well, including the launch of macOS 14, iOS 17, and more. You can catch up on what we expect to see in our WWDC 2023 hub ahead of tonight's keynote address.