Apple’s next major product, a mixed reality headset that will usher the company into a new era, is not expected to arrive until next year. But job postings and staff changes within the company provide insight into some of the device’s capabilities. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman gives us an inventory in his latest newsletter.
What do we know about Apple headphones
We already know that the headset itself is expected to cost between $ 2,000 and $ 3,000, as it is a high-end product that will be equipped with a Mac-grade M2 chip, more than 10 cameras placed on the outside and inside of the device, and screens whose high resolution has never before been offered in a consumer headset.
We also know that the device will run on a new operating system called realityOS, which will include mixed reality versions of major Apple apps like Messages, FaceTime, and Maps. The first version of the operating system, codenamed Oakit is being finalized internally and should be ready for new hardware next year.
Another key detail is the potential name, as it states the premium nature of the headset. Our American colleague reported in August that Apple is behind the trademarks for “Reality Pro” and “Reality One”, suggesting that the company has yet to make a final choice. The “Reality” moniker makes sense given the name of Apple’s existing operating system and AR development tools like RealityKit.
You work for the helmet
We’re now gathering some additional details, thanks to Apple’s job announcements over the past few months and changes to the team behind the upcoming headphones: the Technological development groupor TDG.
Several job announcements indicate that Apple is stepping up its efforts to enrich the device’s content. The company is looking for a software producer with experience in visual effects and gaming asset pipelines, capable of creating digital content for virtual and augmented reality environments.
The posts also suggest that Apple is looking to create a video service for headphones, with 3D content that can be played in virtual reality. This would follow the company’s acquisition of NextVR in 2020, which has partnered with professional sports artists and leagues to push VR content onto headsets.
Apple is also looking for engineers who can work on development tools oriented towards virtual and augmented reality. Unsurprisingly, the company wants its new operating system to use App Intents, which allows apps to work with features like Siri and Shortcuts.
Here is an excerpt from a job posting:
We are looking for a software engineer who will work on the App Intents framework to help design and implement solutions to unlock deep system intelligence, enable new developer tools, and facilitate new user interactions from application data models that are leveraged by a variety of system services like Shortcuts, Siri, Search and more.
The most interesting job announcement is the one that specifically mentions developing a 3D mixed reality world, suggesting that Apple is working on a virtual environment similar to the Metaverse, although don’t expect Apple to adopt this term. Its marketing director said at a recent event that metaverse is “a word I will never use”. And just before, Tim Cook had said that most people don’t understand the metaverse.
This announcement describes working with other developers to “create tools and frameworks that enable connected experiences in a 3D mixed reality world.”
You’ll work closely with the Apple UI Framework, Human Interface Designer, and System Capabilities teams, pushing you to think outside the box and solve incredibly difficult and interesting problems in space.
As the launch approaches, Apple has also added two key people to the management team that oversees development of the device: a former head of the self-driving car team and one of its senior executives, software engineering.
The group itself is led by Mike Rockwell, Apple’s vice president of AR / VR, as well as Dan Riccio, its former head of all hardware, who probably considers this product his latest venture at Apple. Mr. Riccio reports directly to the Chairman and CEO Tim Cook, underlining the seriousness of the assignment.
With these new recruits, Apple is bringing back to life a former senior member of its self-driving car unit: Dave Scott. Scott left the company in early 2021, at a time when several auto industry executives were stepping down. But he returned after a short stint as the CEO of Hyperfine, a healthcare company that builds mobile MRI machines.
Hence, Apple recently assigned Senior Director of Engineering Yaniv Gur to its headphone team. Mr. Gur joined Apple more than 20 years ago in an acquisition that also brought in Roger Rosner, vice president of apps and pioneer of iWork productivity apps.
A suite of apps
Before joining the Headset group, Gur oversaw the design of the iWork applications (Pages, Keynote and Numbers), as well as the Books, Notes and News applications on all of the company’s platforms. The headset team already has an operating system manager, Geoff Stahl, and Mr. Gur’s appointment suggests, according to Gurman, that the company is developing a suite of productivity apps for the headphones.
It would make sense to include some productivity features, which match Meta’s approach to its missions and Microsoft Corp’s HoloLens. a key element of any new AR / VR platform, as long as it’s not the only goal.
What do you think of this future helmet? Market niche or future cardboard? At this price, it seems difficult for us to create an iPhone-level craze, we will have to wait for the release of the Apple Glass glasses within three years and the price drop.