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Apple’s long-awaited mixed reality headset may not require an iPhone to work, and it’s likely that the first version in the lineup will be able to function independently of any other Apple device.
Apple is believed to be preparing its initial AR headset and is expected to finally debut in 2023, possibly during or before WWDC 2023. It may be the first headphone in Apple’s line of products that at that time could appear to be more of a standalone device than previously thought, with the appearance of being able to function without the user necessarily having an iPhone or iPad beforehand.
According to Mark Gurman’s “Power On” newsletter for bloombergHowever, the headset “probably won’t require” an iPhone for setup, nor for actual use. Sources say the latest versions of the headset being tested can apparently be set up without the need for an iPhone, as the headset can download user content and iCloud data directly to itself.
Despite being able to operate independently of other devices, users will still be able to transfer data to the headset from their iPhone or iPad, in a similar way to how new devices are set up.
The idea of it being a standalone device is a very reasonable one, since Meta Quest 2 is actually designed to be used separately from other devices, although you can still interact with it via a companion app.
Interacting with the headset is done by eye and hand tracking, including air typing, but this seemed to be “difficult in testing”. While users may have to rely on the iPhone keyboard to enter text, software updates are expected to be rolled out to provide quick improvements after launch.
In an improvement on previous reports, Gurman now believes a WWDC launch of the headset, apparently called Reality Pro, will happen. Shipments will happen by the end of 2023, in theory.
Beyond the first headset, Gurman writes that Apple is already planning follow-up models, including a cheaper version due at the end of 2024 or even 2025. With a reduced screen and processor, the headset initially titled Reality One will be significantly cheaper than the initial 3000. dollar.
A second-gen Reality Pro appears to be on the way, which could offer significantly more performance than the M2-equipped first-gen model. An obvious complaint is that the M2-based model is not robust enough to support more than two real-world virtual reality representations for participants at a time.