Apple is working (very) hard to refine and finish the first version of its AR/VR headset for its expected announcement at WWDC in June. A new report from Bloomberg drops some details about the features and limitations of the new Apple Reality Pro, including whether or not they will need an iPhone to set up.
In the latest issue of his Power On newsletter, Mark Gurman at Bloomberg reports that the latest test versions of the Reality Pro “will not require an iPhone for configuration or use”. This is a notable change from previous Apple devices, such as the Apple Watch, which originally required an iPhone to set up. Instead, the Reality Pro glasses will configure completely independently of the iPhone and will be able to download user data directly from iCloud. However, similar to the setup process for other Apple devices, the user will have the option to transfer their data directly from an iPhone or iPad so that the process has the simplicity that Apple is used to.
Unlike other AR/VR headsets on the market, the Reality Pro will not have a remote control, but will be controlled with the eyes and hands of the user thanks to the multiple internal and external cameras that they will equip. Bloomberg says that “airwriting” will be a key feature, but is “meticulous in testing.” Gurman comments the following
I’m told that a key function for text input is available in the latest internal prototypes: airwriting. But the tests are not being easy. So if you get the first version of the device, you may have to pair an iPhone to use its touch keyboard. Apple hopes to quickly improve the device once it goes on sale. The company hopes that its headphones will follow the same path as the original Apple Watch in that regard.
Looking further, Gurman also comments that Apple is working on a second-generation Reality Pro headset with a specific focus on performance:
I’m told that the focus of the second version of the device is performance. While the first model will have an M2 chip, plus a secondary chip for AR and VR processing, it’s not powerful enough to produce graphics at the level Apple would like.
Initially, Apple’s first headset was expected to be even more powerful, with a separate hub with additional processing power that could be streamed to the device wirelessly. But Apple’s former chief designer, Jony Ive, he scrapped that idea. Now the company is working to add a more powerful processor (perhaps a variant of the M3 or M4) to the second model, which would help bridge that gap.