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Apple's VR headset: What to expect and what it will look like

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Rumors suggest that the Apple VR headset will release sometime in 2022, and AppleInsider has created exclusive renders to showcase what it may look like.

The Apple VR headset represents Apple's first step into its mixed reality future. It is expected to borrow design elements from across Apple's product line to ensure a comfortable, yet fashionable device.

AppleInsider generated the renders based on a report by The Information which described an alleged prototype design for the VR headset. The report called it a sleek, curved visor that sits on the user's face with a mesh material connected by swappable headbands.

Using this description, we can expect the curved visor to take on an Apple Watch-like glass enclosure. The mesh may resemble the padding used in the AirPods Max, and the bands could look similar to the Apple Watch sport bands.

Industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says the initial device will weigh less than a pound with future models weighing even less. Weight is a primary metric for VR since long sessions could lead to discomfort if the headset is too heavy. With the advent of the "metaverse," some users may expect to be comfortable for hours-long sessions.

Apple may borrow design elements from across its products for its VR headset
Apple may borrow design elements from across its products for its VR headset

Our render of the headset shows lightweight materials and a head strap meant to equally distribute weight across the wearer's head. Apple's AirPods Max are heavy aluminum headphones, but thanks to its headband design, the weight is hardly noticeable in use, and this design would translate well to a headset.

Initial reports suggested that the VR headset would utilize the iPhone to process its software, but more recent rumors suggest the headset will be a stand-alone device. One report from Kuo said that it would have M1-level processing for high-end applications and development.

Such power would be needed for developers to create the next generation of AR and VR experiences. Ultimately, the Apple VR headset will be a stepping stone to creating content for an AR headset, dubbed "Apple Glass."

Despite being virtual reality-first, the headset may also implement cameras to overlay augmented reality objects in the real world. This means Apple's VR headset may actually be mixed reality based on what apps are being used. These alternate AR, VR, and MR modes would be ideal for developing experiences for all Apple devices.

The Apple VR headset may have multiple cameras and sensors for tracking
The Apple VR headset may have multiple cameras and sensors for tracking

A secondary processor would be used for sensor tracking. The rumored LiDAR sensor system would be sufficient to track a user's hands without a controller, but controllers may still be able to be paired for precise control or gaming experiences.

As for price, rumors scale from $1,000 to $3,000. Whatever Apple charges for the VR headset, it will be ultra-premium and much more expensive than its competitors.

Apple is expected to launch the Apple VR headset in 2022. Stay tuned for more exclusive renders of future Apple products on AppleInsider.