Apple Has AR/VR Headset in Works (Report)

In the early days of Oculus VR, as the rest of the world oohed and ahhed about the impending era of VR, the folks over at Apple were pretty silent. They even held their tongues when Oculus founder Palmer Luckey mocked the Cupertino company's laptops and desktops for lacking the power to support his fancy headset.

But two years after the Oculus Rift launched, and still has yet to establish itself as a mainstream technology today, Apple has something to say.

According to CNet, Apple is working on a headset that would support both augmented and virtual reality. It's scheduled to launch sometime in 2020. The project, tentatively known as T288, is still in the early stages. And Apple, being Apple, has declined to comment.

Apple and CEO Tim Cook has been all-in when it comes to AR, as evidenced by the ARKit launch for developers. And it makes sense. Why try developing a headset for VR when you can turn all of your iPhones and iPads into portable AR machines without exerting any unnecessary efforts or costs? Just use your already incredibly powerful mobile CPUs, GPUs, cameras and sensors to create a solid digital overlay over the physical world, duh!

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But times change, and it looks like Apple is ready to show the world how to really do VR. The hints started last year at WWDC when the company said it was working to finally bring Steam VR to Mac desktops. Sometimes it seems that the world doesn't really adopt a new technology until Apple comes along and puts a polished spin on it.

So far, reports say that the company's headset will involve a "dedicated box using a high-speed, short-range wireless technology ... called 60GHz WiGig." It would also make use of 5-nanometer CPU, which is half the printed-circuit width of the iPhone X's processor.

As far as displays, Apple is looking past 4K and going for the gusto with 8K panels, which basically means each of your eyeballs would be getting that sweet, sweet 4K action. And it's not a far stretch of the imagination to think that the near-instantaneous pairing that you get with the W1 chip featured in the AirPods won't be making an appearance in this new headset.

While this is truly tantalizing information, it raises more questions than it gives answers. For instance, will you be able to freely switch between AR and VR? Will there be some sort of hybrid mode? How much will consumers have to pay for the technology?

Whatever Apple launches with will be a big boost to both the AR and VR markets, which still need a way to get mainstream consumers to adopt the technology on a grand scale.

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Sherri L. Smith

Sherri L. Smith has been cranking out product reviews for since 2011. In that time, she's reviewed more than her share of laptops, tablets, smartphones and everything in between. The resident gamer and audio junkie, Sherri was previously a managing editor for Black Web 2.0 and contributed to BET.Com and Popgadget.