We have been hearing about Apple’s VR headset for some years, but we may finally be nearing its release date.
The Information has some news regarding the status of the handset, revealing the device has entered trial production with TSMC, and that it is heading for a 2022 release.
Things are however not all sunshine and roses. They report that Apple is using a special CMOS sensor which is gigantic by normal standards. The sensor is used to capture high-resolution image data from a user’s surroundings for AR and TSMC is reportedly having some issues producing the chip without defects, resulting in poor yield.
The Information also confirmed a long-standing rumour – that the Apple VR headset will be a tethered device, and that it will rely on much of its functionality on an iPhone or iPad. They are suggesting the tethering will be wireless, however.
This does however reduce the complexity of the device, with its chipset reportedly lacking the advanced technology, including the neural engine, found on modern iPhones.
Apple has reportedly completed much of the work, including the chipset design, in 2020, and the physical designs of the SoC and two other Apple-designed chips now involved in trial production. Image sensor and display driver are also reportedly completed.
Various details of the device have leaked, including that it will have an 8K screen, advanced eye-tracking, hybrid ultra-short focal length Fresnel lenses made of plastic to keep their weight below 150 grams, a total of 15 camera modules, eight of which will be used for the core AR/VR experience while the rest will be employed for unspecified biometric function(s).
The headset will reportedly support both VR and AR, via passthrough cameras.
Earlier rumours have suggested Apple will announce their headset sometime this year.
“Sometime in the next several months, the company is poised to announce a mixed reality headset, its first major new device since 2015,” noted Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman. “If possible, Apple won’t want to make such a critical announcement at an online event. It wants employees, the media, its partners and developers in the room.”
The device may be released initially to developers only before hitting the consumer market sometime next year.
After Apple releases their AR/VR headset in 2022 Apple is reportedly planning to release a pure AR headset in 2023.