Apple’s VR Headset Is Reportedly Ultra Expensive and Niche

Apple is hard at work on its first VR headset, but according to reports this initial product offering will be intentionally high-end and niche to pave the way for a more consumer-friendly AR headset down the line.

In a report by Bloomberg, sources close to the matter say that Apple’s first VR headset — meant for activities like gaming, videos, and communicating — will be available as early as 2022. And it won’t be cheap.

This first VR headset will likely be more expensive than rival VR headsets and may only sell “one headset per day per retail store.” This strategy is apparently intentional as Apple continues to work on a more consumer-facing AR glasses-type product.

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As for the VR headset itself, this product is reportedly set to include Apple’s most advanced chip and will feature higher resolution than headsets from Oculus or HTC. The power of this headset also requires a built-in fan, a design choice Apple typically tries to avoid.

According to sources, versions of Apple’s VR headset with its processor and fan led to a device that was too heavy and large raising concerns over “neck strain.” Current designs have shrunk the size and utilize a fabric exterior to reduce the overall weight. It will also be a standalone device like the Oculus Quest.

Apple has streamlined its headset to be much closer to the face, which shrinks the size of the device but removes the space needed for users who wear glasses with VR headsets. One solution Apple is said to be working on is developing a system where owners can insert custom prescription lenses into the VR headset.

However, prescription lenses will open Apple up to additional government regulations.

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The VR headset will feature many of the same features as competitor hardware, but also some AR features as well. The development of AR glasses is early but is reportedly Apple’s main goal as the company sees AR as a more mainstream product versus VR.

However, releasing a VR headset early will prime customers for what to expect when Apple eventually releases an AR headset, with a planned announcement reportedly targeting 2023.

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Matt T.M. Kim is a reporter for IGN.

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