Apple’s AR/VR headset could cost over $2,000, with M1 Pro-like performance

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A report on Friday said Apple was having issues with its AR/VR headset due to overheating, camera and software issues, which could lead the company to delay plans to unveil its Mixed Reality headset this year. Now, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman is back with some more product info.

In previous reports, Gurman said Apple’s AR/VR headset would be “expensive”. Although analysts expected the product to cost around $3,000, the Bloomberg reporter says in his latest Light up newsletter that Apple discussed pricing above $2,000.

Apple typically charges slightly more than its competitors for products, locking in the margins that have helped it become one of the most profitable consumer electronics companies of all time. The new headset will be no exception, but the main reason the company has been discussing prices above $2,000 is due to some of its internal technologies.

Not only that, but Gurman had previously pointed out that Apple would likely use the M1 Pro chip – or something similar – for the new AR/VR headset. Today, he explains a little more about why he thinks this will happen.

I would expect two processors inside the device, including one comparable to the MacBook Pro’s M1 Pro. Combine that with multiple screens, including ultra-high resolution 8K panels, an option of interchangeable prescription lenses, and advanced audio technology, and the costs add up. And don’t forget seven years of internal development expenses that need to be recouped. (…) My belief is that the chip inside the Apple headset will be on par with the M1 Pro, making it better than the M1. The main reason to go for an M1 Pro over an M1 isn’t processor speed. This is the need for more advanced graphics. As you may know, the M1 has an eight-core GPU, while the M1 Pro has 14-16 graphics cores.

Apple’s AR/VR headset is likely to focus on gaming, media consumption and communication, as Gurman and analyst Ming-Chi Kuo have pointed out.

Gaming should be the main focus of the machine, especially since it will have multiple processors, a fan, very high resolution screens and its own App Store. Look for Apple to position the device as a dream for game developers. Next, media consumption. I expect Apple to work with media partners to create content that can be viewed in VR on the device. Third, communications. Look for Animojis and a VR FaceTime-like experience to be the zoom of the new era.

What will Apple call its AR/VR headset?

Mark Gurman also bets on a few names for Apple’s AR/VR headset in his newsletter. Here are a few:

  • AppleVision: I think Apple Vision might be the more realistic name for the headset. The vision’s name sounds futuristic, doesn’t reference any particular technology or feature, has an upbeat vibe, and doesn’t encase the product in anything other than a new visual medium.
  • Apple reality: That was my initial guess on what Apple might call its headset, and it still makes a lot of sense to me. Virtual and augmented reality are the core technologies used in the headset, and Reality hints at the likely name of the rOS operating system intended for the device. The word itself is also understandable and broad. Plus, the name could work for both the company’s first headset and the standalone AR glasses coming later this decade. Apple might call its first headset “Apple Reality” and then name the glasses “Apple Reality Glasses.”
  • Apple Sight/iSight: The first thing that comes to mind with the name Apple Sight is, of course, the Apple iSight video chat camera from 15 years ago. I owned one, and it was probably the coolest video chat camera ever. Apple has dropped the use of “i” in new products, so Apple Sight is a possibility. It’s not my favorite, though, and I think that’s unlikely.

He also thinks that Apple could call the product Apple Lens or even Apple Goggles.

As the company continues to prepare for this new product, we’ll be hearing even more about it in the coming months, whether it’s unveiled at this year’s WWDC or, worst-case scenario, in 2023.

If you want to learn more about Apple’s plans for the AR/VR headset and its real AR headset, click here.

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