The Apple AR/VR headset rumored to be in production could arrive as early as this year – but we’re already seeing predictions for a second-gen version that could include both high-end and low-end models.
This is through a respected Apple analyst Ming Chi Kuo (opens in a new tab) (By MacRumors (opens in a new tab)), which says both devices are expected to arrive in 2025. Other than that, we don’t have much information about them.
As an industry analyst, Kuo talks about some of the deals Apple is making with behind-the-scenes manufacturing partners – but as far as consumers are concerned, it’s the promise of a cheaper headset that’s most interesting.
The price may be right
If the rumors are true, Apple’s first AR/VR headset coming later this year or next will be very expensive: prices of $3,000 (around £2,510 / AU$4,460) and more have been mentioned by various sources, which can be expected to be up to date. These include a recent report from The Financial Times that suggests the first headset has divided opinion within Apple.
This will put many of us out of reach, hence the cheaper second generation model – maybe around half the price. This isn’t the first time a cheaper alternative has been mentioned, and it looks like it could replace Apple’s planned augmented reality glasses.
As for the latest first-generation models, Kuo says (opens in a new tab) that now it is unlikely to appear in the first half of the year. Instead, the likelihood of it appearing next to the iPhone 15s in September is “increasing”.
Analysis: choose your reality
It’s always worth summarizing the reality we’re talking about here so you can understand exactly what Apple is working on. First there’s AR, or augmented reality, which is digital elements superimposed on top of the real world – so you point your phone’s camera at the ground and see, for example, a magically appearing Pokémon.
Then we have VR or virtual reality, totally enclosed digital worlds where everything is generated by software. You’ll experience this if you’ve ever had something like an Oculus Quest 2 and the processing requirements are higher as more digital objects need to be generated.
It looks like Apple’s headset could combine AR and VR technology: Kuo calls it an “AR/MR headset,” and MR stands for mixed reality. Mixed reality usually means both AR and VR together in one device, although confusingly not everyone in tech uses it to refer to the same thing – sometimes it means a higher, more immersive level of AR.
Rounding out the terminology is XR, or augmented reality, which most of the time is used as an umbrella term that encompasses AR, VR, and MR together. Now you can dazzle guests at your next party with your comprehensive knowledge of all the augmented and virtual reality jargon you need.