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Apple reportedly targeting 2021 unveiling, 2022 launch for AR/VR headset

Apple is reportedly aiming to unveil a headset with augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) capabilities next year, with a plan to release the device in 2022.

Though plans may still change, the AR/VR headset may be announced next year, Bloomberg reported, citing Mike Rockwell, the leader of Apple’s Technology Development Group, at an all-hands meeting last fall. The secretive division, which is said to be devoted to AR and VR, is also planning to roll out AR glasses by 2023 at the earliest according to the report.

Apple’s AR/VR headset will come with ultra-high-resolution screens, which “will make it almost impossible for a user to differentiate the virtual world from the real one,” according to the report. Making the experience more realistic is a cinematic speaker system, according to people who have tried out prototypes of the device. The headset will also have its own App Store, which will be gaming-focused, the ability to stream videos, and the capability of serving as a communications device for virtual meetings.

The initial design for the AR/VR headset was an “ultra-powerful system, with graphics and processing speeds previously unheard of for a wearable product.” The device, however, would have come with a stationary hub, which was dropped after Apple CEO Tim Cook reportedly sided with Jony Ive, the company’s former design chief, who reportedly preferred the concept of standalone AR glasses.

Digital Trends has reached out to Apple for comments on the rumored AR/VR headset.

Apple working on AR/VR

Apple’s development of an AR/VR headset has long been rumored, with a DigiTimes report from November claiming that the company has teamed up with video game publisher Valve for the device. A leaked build of iOS 14 apparently revealed a photo of a controller for an AR or VR headset that resembled the one used for the HTC Vive Focus, MacRumors reported in March.

Apple continues to invest in VR, with its purchase of California-based events broadcaster NextVR in May. Leaker Jon Prosser, meanwhile, claimed that Apple’s AR glasses, which will be known as the Apple Glass, will be released in 2022 with a starting price of $500.

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