Jason Snell on the Rumored Apple Headset

Jason Snell writing for Macworld:

Apple’s been getting ready for this for years. And while Apple’s first VR device will be expensive and underpowered compared to its second, third, and fourth, it will still be the culmination of at least five years of effort. I have to admit, I’m interested to see Apple’s vision for virtual worlds–and I hope that, somewhere in there, there’s room for a friendly poker game among Memojis.

I’m with Jason and find myself curiously optimistic. I own the first generation Oculus Quest and my big stumbling blocks with it are the limited uses (beyond gaming) and the poor screen resolution. Those are two problems that Apple could easily solve. I hope that 2022 is the year Apple starts tuning its cards over in this space.

The Apple Headset Possibilities

The smoke signals around the Apple VR/AR goggles are getting thicker. This week Mark Gurman weighed in, as reported by 9to5 Mac, explaining the new goggles may have 8K displays inside driven by MacBook Pro caliber Apple silicon and will cost above $2,000.

I’ve got the first generation Oculus Quest. I’ve done some gaming on it and even tried to work with it a few times. One of my favorite things to do with the Oculus is visiting virtual Machu Picchu or my virtual cabin in the Alps. It does feel pretty remarkable even with obviously underpowered hardware.

And that is the problem with my now-obsolete Oculus. The display is too pixelated, and the processor is too small. The now-shipping $300 Oculus 2 features a resolution of 1832 x 1920. (My Oculus Quest 1 resolution is 1440 x 1600.)

So, getting back to that 8K display and $2,000+ price point. That could be true, or it could be more smoke. You may recall that before the iPad release, there were “credible” rumors it would start at $1,000. When it turned out to start at $499, everybody lost their minds over what a good deal that was. If I were a betting man, I’d guess that the rumors are correct, and these things are going to be capital “E” Expensive.

So what if Apple were to take their engineering prowess to make something that is genuinely multiples better than everything else on the market? I think that product would be interesting. It could expand the possibilities of what you could pull off with AR/VR. In this weird time where it seems like we are all just one more variant away from getting stuck at home again, wouldn’t it be nice to get away to a much more believable digital Machu Picchu?

Regardless, these rumors and leaks will only increase in frequency as we move forward through 2022. The hype machine around this product feels much bigger than the hubbub that preceded the Apple Watch. This one has much more of an iPad-level hype. Buckle up gang.