Apple Glass developers reportedly faced design issues. But Apple plans to release a separate Apple VR headset that will be an expensive competitor to Oculus.
The upcoming AR headset Apple Glass has reportedly faced several roadblocks in its development and could now be overtaken by an alternative Apple device. This is expected to be a heavier, more familiar VR headset, similar to Oculus or PlayStation VR, but more expensive.
According to Bloomberg, Apple plans to release this new headset in 2022 for between $300 and $900. Apple is believed to expect this to only sell in small volumes, reportedly only one headset per day in the Apple Store, similar to how the Mac Pro is being sold now.
The headset is said to be codenamed N301 and is in the final stages of a prototype. The headset is run on processors that outperform the Apple M1 chips in Apple’s new Silicon Mac computers.
On the other hand, Apple Glass, codenamed N431, is reportedly in a preliminary prototype stage known as “architecture.” This means that Apple is still developing basic Apple Glass technologies instead of physical devices.
Apple has been working on various headset designs for years, and Jony Ive has reportedly shelved one due to design issues. His main disagreement with Apple’s plans at the time was that the company wanted to release a two-part system. There would be a headset and a separate device that would contain the processors.
According to Bloomberg, the problem with combining the processors into a single Apple Glass headset was that it made the device heavy. Early trials reportedly caused neck strain problems.
Earlier, Apple is working on an automatic Apple Glass adjustment that will eliminate the need for prescription lenses. Bloomberg reports that Apple has reduced the size by removing the space that VR headsets usually leave for lenses in their current design.
This could mean that Apple is confident about its prescription lens alternative. However, this can cause lens alignment issues when purchased from the Apple Store or online. And different countries have different series of rules for such lenses, and Apple will likely have to take steps to make one device sell everywhere.
This isn’t the first report that Apple might start with a VR headset rather than Apple Glass. In September 2020, Jean-Louis Gasset predicted that Apple would start with virtual reality glasses.