Apple is reportedly working on a VR headset that will include a fabric design, a fan, and an expensive price tag. Bloomberg News reports that Apple’s first VR headset may launch as soon as 2022 as a standalone device that operates through batteries, similar to the Oculus Quest 2. Apple is reportedly working on “some of its most advanced and powerful chips” for this unannounced VR headset, with some chips reportedly beating its own M1 Mac processors.
Apple has reportedly faced challenges in the development of this headset, with some prototypes ending up too big and heavy. Apple is reportedly using a fabric exterior to reduce the headset weight, but the company is also using a fan — an unusual move for Apple given its emphasis on fan-less design.
The Oculus Quest 2 VR headset. Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge
Bloomberg News also reports that the size of Apple’s VR headset, which is codenamed N301, is similar to the Oculus Quest, and some prototypes being tested include external cameras to enable some AR features. Apple is also reportedly testing the ability to use these cameras to track hand movements, and include software features like a virtual keyboard.
It’s not clear exactly when Apple’s VR headset will launch, but it could be as soon as 2022. It will reportedly be an expensive and niche device, with some at Apple rumored to be anticipating that the company may sell only one headset per day at each of its retail stores, or less than 200,000 units per year.
Apple has been working on VR and AR headsets for years, according to various reports. Bloomberg News also published a detailed look at Apple’s VR and AR ambitions last year, noting that the company has around 1,000 people working on AR and VR.