Report: Apple Mixed-Reality Headset to Feature Iris Scanning for Authentication and Payments
Apple's mixed-reality headset will feature iris scanning to authenticate payments and log into accounts, setting itself apart from Meta's new Quest Pro headset, according to a paywalled report from The Information.
Two individuals, who apparently helped develop Apple's headset, told The Information that users will be able to scan their irises to quickly log into their accounts and make payments, similar to Face ID and Touch ID – a feature first rumored by Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Iris scanning is also said to make it easier for multiple people to use the same headset and sets the device apart from the Quest Pro, which lacks any such feature.
To enable iris scanning, internal cameras track where users are looking. Eye tracking also allows Apple to reduce graphical fidelity in a user's peripheral vision, thereby reducing the amount of processing power required for the headset's graphics. Apple's purchase of German startup SensoMotoric Instruments in 2017 is said to have allowed it to build the technology.
The report reiterated the rumor that Apple's headset will feature 14 cameras, compared to just 10 on Meta's Quest Pro headset, designed to capture motion to accurately represent real-world movements on digital avatars. Two downward-facing cameras apparently capture the wearer's legs, offering another feature that the Quest Pro does not have.
The headset purportedly resembles "a pair of ski goggles" and look different from the Quest Pro. Apple's design is said to rely heavily on "mesh fabrics, aluminum and glass," and conceals its outward-facing cameras better than the Quest Pro. The device is also apparently thinner and lighter than the Quest Pro, which weighs 722 grams.
In addition, the report claims that Apple's headset allows those who wear glasses to magnetically clip on custom prescription lenses inside the device.
On the exterior of the headset, an outward-facing display is said to allow other people to see the facial expressions of the wearer. Despite concerns over how the display may use additional battery life, it is reportedly able to operate at a low refresh rate to conserve power, similar to the always-on displays of the Apple Watch and iPhone.
The Information warned that some previously planned features may not make it into the final version of the headset when it is unveiled next year.