Virtual Reality

Apple’s mixed-reality headset is coming next year

Will sell for US$ 3,000

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Image source: The Information

Today, the world’s biggest tech makers already have their toes wet in the virtual reality market. Facebook has the Oculus. Google has the Daydream. The PlayStation has the PSVR. Everybody who’s anybody already sells their own VR headset. Everybody except Apple, that is. For the longest time, Apple has developed its VR headset without an endgame. However, according to a new leak, Apple’s mixed-reality headset is coming next year. And for a hefty, hefty price.

According to The Information, Apple’s mixed-reality headset, still unnamed, will come with more than a dozen cameras to help with tracking. Further, it comes with two 8K resolution screens to output images. As the names says on the tin, the headset is mixed-reality, rather than strictly virtual- or augmented-reality.

According to the report, the headset is already a “late-stage prototype.” It will also feature swappable headbands. One such headband will reportedly have spatial audio technology, bolstering the high video quality.

Apple is also exploring other ways to control the headset including thimble-like controllers you wear on your fingers. Usually, other headsets have bulkier controllers.

Unfortunately, the headset’s biggest detail is its alleged price. The headset will reportedly sell for around US$ 3,000 and will launch sometime next year at the earliest. Other headsets have sold for similar price tags, like the Microsoft HoloLens; however, Apple’s specs and price place the headset in a more luxurious category, rather than something niche or educational.

SEE ALSO: Apple is creating a charging cable that never frays

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Here’s how Apple’s VR headsets might be different from others

Connected or standalone?

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VR headsets moved past being called “revolutionary.” Though the technology is still far from mainstream, a lot of companies have already staked their claim on the supposed future of media. However, “a lot” is still missing a key player after all these years — Apple. And the reason reportedly stems from a dogged attempt to completely differentiate its entry from others.

According to The Information, Apple is constantly struggling with several key decisions leading up to a finalized product. Arguably, the biggest fork in the road starts from whether the device will require pairing with other devices or become its own standalone product.

VR headsets today are a mixed bag. While some still require a base station, some are standalone devices that don’t need others to work, like the Oculus Quest. Naturally, the decision has major repercussions going forward into development. Deciding for one over the other option forces development into a single path of development. Further, a decision speaks to whether a finalized device supports Apple’s ecosystem of products or offers something new.

According to the source, Apple is still torn between the two options. While Mike Rockwell, the visionary behind Apple’s AR/VR efforts, is leaning towards a connected base station, other executives disagree and are pushing for a standalone device.

Additionally, Apple executives have reportedly received units for testing already. Though some decisions are still up in the air, Apple might have some official announcements soon.

SEE ALSO: Apple testing E Ink displays for foldable iPhone

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Meta is working on AR glasses set for 2024 launch

More devices coming in 2026 and 2028

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What’s next after virtual reality headsets? While some companies are still trying to catch up to the current leaders in virtual reality, the latter are already thinking of next steps. Meta, the owners of Oculus Quest, have still not given up on making augmented reality a thing. Under Mark Zuckerberg’s dream, Meta is working on a pair of AR glasses coming in 2024.

According to sources close to The Verge, Meta already has a roadmap ready for its AR offerings. Currently named Project Nazare, the upcoming headset will come out in 2024. A more advanced version will come out in 2026 and a third iteration will come in 2028.

The upcoming lineup will reportedly function separately from a smartphone. It will be its own device outside of traditional device pairing. Naturally, it will tie in with Meta’s social media platforms. In terms of hardware, the first iteration of the device will work only indoors and will carry a four-hour battery life. It will also have eye-tracking and front-facing camera capabilities. As such, it will take a while before the device makes it to the mainstream.

Besides Project Nazare, a cheaper device, nicknamed Hypernova, will also come out in 2024. Compared to the Nazare lineup, Hypernova will connect with a smartphone, offering a more integrated ecosystem of devices.

Accordingly, Zuckerberg is investing a lot of resources on the project. The CEO had been dreaming of a mainstream AR headset for a while now. With Nazare, Zuckerberg wants to create an “iPhone moment,” ushering in a new era for technology going forward.

SEE ALSO: Facebook changes name to Meta

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McDonald’s, Wingstop will sell virtual food in the metaverse

Virtual Big Macs are on the menu

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The metaverse is changing the world. Though some of the changes are arguably beneficial, some are problematic head-scratchers. Love it or hate it, the metaverse asks a lot of questions. For example, how can everyday necessities translate to the virtual world? Well, some fast-food chains, like McDonald’s and Wingstop, have a plan. Both companies have filed trademarks to effectively sell food inside the metaverse.

Both filed in February, McDonald’s and Wingstop are working on systems to sell a strange menu of products in the metaverse, as spotted by Insider. Though the list does include standard thoroughfare like NFTs and digital assets, the obvious headliner is food, virtual and real.

Naturally, there are a lot of questions about virtual food in the metaverse. Are these just bits of code that your avatar can eat?

Wingstop’s iteration of the technology speaks of tokens that will allow users to have discounts for real-world purchases. On the other hand, McDonald’s offers a clearer picture. The chain’s trademark includes a system wherein users can purchase virtual food which will be delivered to them in the real world as well.

As the metaverse (or even just the idea of it) grows, a lot of companies want to cash in on the opportunity early before it passes them by. Of course, the questions can then arise: How addicting will the metaverse be that you can’t be bothered to order from a restaurant in the real world? McDonald’s and Wingstop won’t be the last companies to buy into the trend, but their respective trademarks raise some interesting questions for the future of virtual reality.

SEE ALSO: Samsung created a metaverse filled with its products

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