Apple's Mixed Reality Headset to Feature iOS-Like Interface, Advanced Hand Tracking, and Will Work as Second Display for Mac

The AR/VR headset that Apple has been working on for years now is set to launch in 2023, which means rumors about the device are picking up. Bloomberg today shared some information on the headset's interface, the apps it will feature, and how it will work.

apple ar headset concept 1Concept render based on purported leaked information by Ian Zelbo

Apple's mixed reality headset will have an "iOS-like" interface that will include "many functions" available on the iPhone and iPad, with the headset also able to serve as an external display for a connected Mac. Users will be able to see their Mac's display in VR, controlling the Mac with a physical keyboard and trackpad/mouse.

Using the headset will "feel familiar to Apple users," with an interface that is close to identical to the look of an ‌iPhone‌ or an ‌iPad‌. There will be a Home screen with app icons that can be rearranged, as well as customizable widgets.

Eye and hand-tracking will be a "major selling point" for the headset, with Apple using external cameras that can analyze a user's hands and eyes. According to Bloomberg, the wearer will be able to control the headset by looking at an on-screen item to select it, then using gestures to activate the on-screen item. Unlike other headset options, Apple will not rely on a physical controller.

Likely to be named "Reality Pro," the headset will be able to switch between augmented reality and virtual reality. Augmented reality will overlay virtual objects on the real world, while virtual reality is an entirely virtual environment that shuts out the wearer's surroundings. Augmented reality functions will work through a pass-through mode that will use the exterior cameras on the headset, and swapping between AR and VR will be done with a Digital Crown-like control knob.

Video conferencing will be a focus, with Apple adding FaceTime-based video chatting capabilities and meeting rooms. A user's actual face and full body will be rendered in virtual reality for interactive meetings, with the realistic avatars available for one-to-one chats. FaceTime with multiple participants will use less detailed icons like Memoji.

Apple is working on VR content with media partners like Disney and Dolby, as well as updating Apple TV+ shows and movies to work with the headset. Apple's aim is to provide viewers with the experience of looking at a giant screen in an environment like a desert or outer space.

Apps will include Safari, Photos, Mail, Messages, ‌Apple TV+‌, Apple Music, Podcasts, and Calendar, and the headset will have a dedicated App Store for third-party content. Siri will be able to be used for text input, as will an ‌iPhone‌, ‌iPad‌, or Mac keyboard. Apple is working on an air typing feature, but it is not expected to be ready for launch.

For those who wear glasses, Apple will provide custom lenses that are able to sit within the enclosure, and Apple is expecting users to wear AirPods to get an audio experience on par with the visual experience that the headset provides, though it will have built-in speakers.

As previously rumored, the headset will have an external battery pack to prevent it from overheating on a user's face due to the high-end Mac chips used for the device. The battery is approximately the size of two iPhone 14 Pro Max models stacked on top of one another, and it will power the headset for around two hours. An external battery will allow users to swap one battery and charge another to use the device for a longer period of time.

Other AR/VR rumored headset features include 4K microOLED displays, more than a dozen cameras, iris tracking, facial expression detection, and more, with details available in our roundup. The headset is expected later in 2023, perhaps as soon as the spring, and it will sell for somewhere around $3,000.

To get people interested in the headset, Apple Store locations will have a dedicated area where it can be demonstrated and tested after launch.

Top Rated Comments

dypeterc Avatar
2 weeks ago
What if Apple were to be leaking AR/VR goggle rumors just to keep Meta in the AR/VR game wasting money and resources?
Score: 50 Votes (Like | Disagree)
randolorian Avatar
2 weeks ago
I look forward to the day that we don’t have to look at this same mock-up with every Apple VR post.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheYayAreaLiving ? Avatar
2 weeks ago
For $3000.00 including tax, It's overly expensive.

I'm not sure if this world is even ready for this Apple AR/VR headset. Siri connecting with Apple AR/VR headset??? Yeah... I don't know about this one.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
KaliYoni Avatar
2 weeks ago

the headset will be able to switch between augmented reality and virtual reality.
And we thought sidewalk iPhone users made it hard to walk around without bumping into distracted, oblivious people...
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DelayedGratificationGene Avatar
2 weeks ago
These comments are almost as funny as the ones ridiculing the iPhone rumors. Almost as funny.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
trvs Avatar
2 weeks ago
What (who) is this product for? I just don’t get it.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iOS 16

iOS 16.3 Now Available for Your iPhone With These 4 New Features

Friday February 3, 2023 1:13 pm PST by
Apple released iOS 16.3 in late January following nearly six weeks of beta testing. The software update is available for the iPhone 8 and newer, and while it is a relatively minor update, it still includes a handful of new features, changes, and bug fixes. Below, we've recapped new features in iOS 16.3, including support for physical security keys as a two-factor authentication option for...
iPhone 14 Pro Purple Side Perspective Feature Purple

Gurman: Apple Considering New High-End iPhone Alongside Pro and Pro Max

Sunday February 5, 2023 6:07 am PST by
Apple has discussed selling a new top-of-the-line iPhone alongside the Pro and Pro Max models in 2024 at the earliest, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Based on this timeframe, the device would be part of the iPhone 16 lineup or later. In a September 2022 edition of his weekly "Power On" newsletter, Gurman said there was "potential" for an iPhone 15 Ultra to replace the iPhone 15 Pro...
ipad air purple

Deals: M1 iPad Air Hits Record-Low Prices at TigerDirect, Starting at $313.99 (48% Off) [Updated]

Saturday February 4, 2023 10:05 am PST by
Online retailer TigerDirect has slashed pricing on the M1 iPad Air in several colors, offering the base 64GB configuration for just $313.99 in Purple and Pink. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with TigerDirect. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running. That's a savings of 48% compared to Apple's normal $599.00...
mac studio pink

Apple May Not Launch Updated Mac Studio With M2 Ultra Chip Due to Similarity With Upcoming Mac Pro

Sunday February 5, 2023 6:06 am PST by
A new version of the Mac Studio with the "M2 Ultra" chip is unlikely to arrive in the near future, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. In the latest edition of his "Power On" newsletter, Gurman explained that since the upcoming Apple silicon Mac Pro is "very similar in functionality to the Mac Studio," Apple may wait until the release of M3- or M4-series chips to update the machine, or...
webkit vs chromium feature

Google Working on Browser for iOS That Would Break Apple's App Store Rules

Saturday February 4, 2023 1:30 am PST by
Google's Chromium developers are working on an experimental web browser for iOS that would break Apple's browser engine restrictions, The Register reports. The experimental browser, which is being actively pursued by developers, uses Google's Blink engine. Yet if Google attempted to release it on the App Store, it would not pass Apple's App Review process. Apple's App Store rules dictate...
Apple Silicon Teal Feature

The Next Big Apple Silicon Device May Not Be a Mac or iPad

Wednesday February 1, 2023 3:57 am PST by
Apple's next device with an Apple silicon chip may not be a Mac or an iPad, but rather an advanced external display, according to recent reports. The display, which is rumored to arrive this year, is expected to sit somewhere between the $1,599 Studio Display and the $4,999 Pro Display XDR – but more exact information about the device's positioning and price point is as yet unknown. While ...
top stories 4feb2023

Top Stories: New HomePod Launches, iOS 16.3.1 Coming Soon, and More

Saturday February 4, 2023 6:00 am PST by
This week saw the launch of the final product from Apple's January hardware announcements, with the second-generation HomePod making its way into customers' hands. Other news and rumors this week included signs of an interim iOS 16.3.1 bug fix update in the works as we await a fresh round of beta testing for a more significant iOS 16.4 update, a report on the potential dangers of using...
maxresdefault

Hands-On With Apple's Second-Generation HomePod

Friday February 3, 2023 1:28 pm PST by
Today is the official launch day for the second-generation HomePod that was introduced in January, and we picked one up to compare it to the original HomePod that Apple discontinued in 2021. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Design wise, the second-generation HomePod looks a lot like the first-generation model, featuring the same rounded design and acoustic mesh...