$3,000 Apple mixed-reality visor could debut in 2022 with premium features

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A rumored Apple mixed-reality headset could have a suite of high-end eye- and hand-tracking sensors and cameras, swappable headbands, and a visor-like design, according to a new report.

The device could sport more than a dozen cameras for hand movement tracking and to show users a video feed of the world. It could also have advanced eye-tracking technology and ultra-high-resolution 8K displays, along with a “bevy” of other features, The Information reported on Thursday.

Apple MR headset features

Late stage prototypes and concept images of the device show a curved visor-like form factor with that attaches to the face with a mesh material and swappable headbands. The Information created a concept rendering of the headset based on images of Apple’s prototypes.

Credit: The Information

Credit: The Information

Instead of a pure augmented reality (AR) device, sources within Apple said that the visor is being internally referred to as an MR device because of its “ability to combine virtual reality experiences with games and other applications that use real-life objects surrounding the person wearing the headset.”

Currently, the focus of the device could be games or possibly productivity and education applications. The device, codenamed N301, is said to immerse a wearer in a fully virtual environment like Oculus Quest. It will also block a user’s peripheral vision, but will pass a view of the world around them to create a mixed-reality effect.

In addition to hand- and eye-tracking, Apple is also developing other control mechanisms for it. One possible method would be a thimble-like device worn on a user’s finger that could allow them to control software. It isn’t clear if that accessory will be bundled with it or sold separately.

Some prototypes also appear to have a physical dial or crown on the side. All versions appear to have LIDAR technology, which Apple already uses in its iPhone and iPad Pro lineup to quickly map objects and environments.

An outward-facing display on the device could show users information when it’s not in use. Interchangeable headbands could feature spatial audio technology like the AirPods Max or AirPods Pro. Users will be able to charge it with a cable, though Apple is also working on…

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