A mock-up of the Apple AR headset created by a designer AntonioDeRosa
 

Apple plans to announce its rumored augmented reality headset as early as next year according to Mark Gurman, who wrote on the subject in the latest edition of his Bloomberg Power On newsletter.

Gurman suggests the headset is “scheduled for as early as next year”, but that actually getting hold of one may take significantly longer. It is thanks, at least in part, to the additional factors involved that don’t need to be considered when making a phone or tablet.

“Apple’s first headset will have a complex, expensive-to-build design, complete with interchangeable lenses,” says Gurman.

Many people may need prescription lenses to comfortably use Apple’s headset, and whether you will depends on the design Apple uses, and your level of vision of course.

Near-sighted people don’t necessarily need prescription lenses when using a VR headset, as the effective focal distance is around two metres. Therefore if you can see reasonably clearly at that distance, you should be able to get away without wearing your glasses or custom lenses.

However, if this first Apple headset is more like a set of smart glasses, anyone who wears regular glasses will need prescription lenses.

TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo recently predicted the Apple headset will have similar processing power to an Apple MacBook, suggesting it will use a processor based on the M1 architecture seen in Apple laptops and the top iPad Pros.

This in itself points towards a design closer to something like the Facebook Oculus Quest than a pair of slim-line smart glasses. While Apple’s latest chipsets can operate well without a cooling fan, a heat sink is still used. This is where heat generated by the processor is shifted to a high surface area metal structure, typically using highly conductive copper pipes.

Fitting this sort of power into something that looks like a normal pair of glasses does not seem likely, yet. However, it does mean the headset will be able to operate independently, rather than having to offload its calculations to the cloud or a connected phone or tablet.

 

Author: Andrew Williams / Forbes

 

 

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