Apple’s upcoming headset will have leg tracking and iris scanning, The Information reports.
Last year Bloomberg, The Information, and supply chain analyst Ming-Chi Kuo released reports claiming Apple is preparing to release a premium headset for VR and AR with ultra high resolution color passthrough. Kuo claimed this headset will be noticeably lighter than existing VR headsets and feature dual 4K OLED microdisplays.
In August an Apple-linked company filed to trademark ‘Reality One’, ‘Reality Pro’, and ‘Reality Processor’, suggesting the headset and its processor will be branded Apple Reality.
According to the new report, iris scanning will be used to unlock the device and authenticate payments, meaning it should support multiple user profiles without needing a passcode.
The headset will also apparently have two downwards-facing cameras to track your legs. Meta has faced widespread ridicule for its legless avatars, and yesterday revealed to UploadVR the legs demo it previewed at its Connect event featured “animations created from motion capture”. The $1500 Quest Pro tracks your head, eyes, facial expressions, and hands – but not your torso or legs.
In May The Information released an in-depth report on the project’s troubled history. The headset apparently has 14 cameras in total when including those used for passthrough, positional tracking, eye tracking, face tracking, hand tracking, and body tracking – which reportedly caused “headaches” for hardware and algorithm engineers. One reported feature of the headset is a screen on the front to let others in the room see your upper face and eyes. But adding this screen apparently made the development of its camera passthrough technology more difficult. Plans can change for hardware development sometimes even quite late into a product’s planning, with Quest Pro for example ditching a depth sensor just months before release.
That report also claimed Apple “almost never” mentions games in internal presentations, and isn’t developing a tracked controller, with the input methods instead being hand tracking and a “clothespin-like finger clip” which showed up in Apple patent filings.
The Information previously reported Apple is considering pricing the product as high as $3000, but says Apple was working to reduce the cost of materials to make it more affordable. If the reports so far are to be believed, though, Apple’s product will have higher resolution, a more powerful processor, and a slimmer design than Quest Pro.
Ming-Chi Kuo predicts Apple will host a media event in January, deliver development kits 2-4 weeks later, and launch pre-orders in the second quarter of 2023 for a release before WWDC 2023. WWDC is Apple’s yearly software conference, almost always held in June.