While many of us will be watching Apple’s WWDC 2023 keynote on Monday — where we’ll most likely see its new VR headset — from our computers, it looks like Apple is already prepping for how it’ll be demoing it to real humans after the event. Because it’s one thing to watch demos on the small screen, but it’s a totally different experience when a person straps it on. Apple’s taking all the precautions necessary to ensure the demos will be a controlled process.
Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman revealed that select attendees and members of the media will be able to try Apple’s VR headset on a large structure at the basketball courts closest to the employee fitness center on the Apple Park campus. Building this structure makes sense, since it probably helps to optimize the experience people will be having with the headset.
What’s interesting, though, is that Gurman says that the demos will center mainly around FaceTime, Apple TV+ content, and gaming. However, it’s unclear if these demos will be conducted in mixed or virtual reality.
We imagine gaming would absolutely be in virtual reality, but these Apple TV+ and FaceTime experiences could be in mixed reality. We’ve previously reported how Apple’s Reality Pro headset would have a dedicated dial to switch between mixed and virtual reality, so it’ll be interesting to see these demos turn out.
Another interesting tidbit is Apple’s plan on notifying customers with certain conditions about the impacts of AR and VR to their health. Gurman revealed that Apple is having discussions on this issue, specifically on whether or not they should buy the headset if they have health issues such as Meniere’s Disease, migraines, vertigo, and other brain injuries.
This is important because there have been documented side effects with prolonged full-immersion virtual reality. At the very least, we suspect there would be labels or literature that would state these potential issues.
Even though WWDC 2023 will be a showcase event for Apple’s virtual reality headset, it appears as though testers have found it to overheat. Gurman explains that it’s nearing a development stage called DVT (Design Validation Testing), which seems to be similar to the quality assurance stage other gadgets go through before getting clearance.
Overheating is common among virtual reality headsets, especially when they’re operating for long periods of time. Given how Apple’s VR headset is reportedly to feature two 4K Micro OLED displays with 5,000 nits peak brightness, we’re not surprised by this revelation. There are operation thresholds it should abide by, so it’ll be critical to address in order to pass this development stage.