Apple Mixed Reality Headset Rumors Ramp with Targeted WWDC Invites

Mixed Reality
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It's been rumored that Apple would release a mixed-reality headset to the public for several years. Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has steadily dripped details about the headset in recent months ahead of its expected WWDC 2023 unveil. 

Further fueling the flames of a WWDC announcement is that Ian Hamilton of UploadVR received an invite to the June 5th keynote. This is the first time UploadVR, which focuses primarily on augmented reality and virtual reality technology, has been invited to attend WWDC. Where there's smoke, there's usually fire, and it appears Apple is finally ready for the world to know what it has in store for customers.

So, what exactly should we expect from the headset, which is reportedly called the Reality Pro? Well, it's rumored that the Reality Pro will use dual 4K resolution micro-OLED displays (one for each eye), delivering a combined 8K resolution for the user (around 3,000 pixels per inch).

It's also reported that two Apple M2 SoCs will power the headset. These won't be watered-down chips but will instead be just as potent as the ones you'd find on current-generation MacBook Air and Mac mini computers. This would make the Reality Pro among the most potent standalone mixed reality devices on the market.

Gurman alleges that the Reality Pro will tethered to an external battery pack to trim down the headset's weight to make wearing it for extended periods less fatiguing. However, the cable connecting the battery pack to the headset is reportedly proprietary (it won't use Lightning or USB-C) and the battery pack is hot-swappable.

It's also alleged that the headset will have at least a dozen cameras facing inward and outward. Inward-looking cameras will reportedly track the position of your eyes, while the external cameras will allow you to see the outside world while wearing the headset. It's also possible that Apple will include iris-scanning biometric technology to authenticate purchases made using the Reality Pro.

Because of the robust hardware involved, the Reality Pro reportedly won't need to be tethered to an iPhone -- instead, it will use its own xrOS (Extended Reality Operating System). It will reportedly also come preinstalled with versions of existing iOS apps tailored to function in a 3D environment (i.e., Safari, Mail, Photos, Apple TV+, etc.). As you might expect, Apple is rumored to have partnered with game developers and sports leagues to bring a new level of immersion to those respective platforms.

We must remember that all of the information reported above is speculation primarily from one source: Mark Gurman. However, Gurman is a generally reliable leaker of Apple information and tends to back up his assertions thanks to his well-connected sources. Regardless, we won't have long to see what Apple has been brewing behind closed doors in Cupertino, as June 5th is less than two weeks away.

Brandon Hill

Brandon Hill is a senior editor at Tom's Hardware. He has written about PC and Mac tech since the late 1990s with bylines at AnandTech, DailyTech, and Hot Hardware. When he is not consuming copious amounts of tech news, he can be found enjoying the NC mountains or the beach with his wife and two sons.

  • newtechldtech
    ... Apple should release this as the first (successful) VR gaming console ... the M2 is enough ...
  • bit_user
    newtechldtech said:
    ... the M2 is enough ...
    Depends on which M2 you mean. Rumor has it the M1 Ultra was designed for this, but it's so hot & power-hungry that it would have been limited to use as a base-station, which is pretty impractical for an AR headset. That's why Jonny Ive allegedly killed it. GPU-wise, the only M2 that approaches the M1 Ultra would be the M2 Ultra.

    Given the apparent relaxation in rendering specs, I'm guessing this will be a conventional, planar VR HMD and not lightfield-based. Set expectations, accordingly.