Apple Set to Unveil Highly Anticipated Mixed Reality Headset and New xrOS Platform at WWDC 2023
Apple is set to unveil its highly anticipated mixed reality headset, rumored to be called the Reality Pro or Reality One, at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on June 5th, 2023. Alongside the hardware, the company is also expected to announce its new software platform, xrOS, which will be optimized for a 3D interface, and will include dedicated apps such as Safari, Photos, Messages, Maps, Apple Music, FaceTime, and more. The technology giant has been working on the headset for the past seven years, and reports suggest that it will have both augmented and virtual reality features, as well as gesture inputs, which could explain the creation of a new operating system. The headset is expected to be targeted primarily at developers, with initial shipments predicted to be limited to below 100,000 units due to high manufacturing costs.
The estimated manufacturing cost of the device ranges from $1,400 to $1,600, with an expected retail price of around $3,000. This has led to speculation that the headset will have a content-creation focus, with a user interface that could be precise enough to handle apps like Final Cut. Apple is also reportedly creating an App Store for the headset, which will allow developers to create and distribute content.
XrOS will have many of the same features as an iPhone and iPad, but in a 3D environment, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. The software platform will feature an iOS-like interface, with apps, widgets, and a homescreen, optimized for a 3D interface. The design language is expected to be similar to that of the iPhone, to help fans feel at home. The platform is also expected to take advantage of the headset's unique hardware, which includes an array of chips, cameras, and sensors.
The high cost of the device, coupled with manufacturing challenges and an emphasis on developers, is expected to restrict sales predominantly to pre-orders for this year. However, the release of the headset is expected to increase interest in AR/VR products and could lead to a more affordable second-generation device that will be marketed towards the average consumer, with a launch rumored to be near 2025.
Apple's WWDC event is set to be one of the most exciting keynote events in recent years, with major updates to all of its operating systems expected, including iOS 17, macOS 14, and the new xrOS operating system. The event will also feature the debut of the highly anticipated mixed reality headset, which is expected to be a significant hardware launch for the company since the introduction of the Apple Watch in 2015.
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