Skip to main content

Apple’s VR headset could get these surprise iOS features

Recent weeks have brought some interesting revelations about Apple’s upcoming mixed-reality headset, including details on its realityOS operating system. Now, a new report says the device could use two staple features of iOS: Memoji and SharePlay.

The news comes from reporter Mark Gurman, who has a history of providing accurate leaks and rumors regarding Apple devices. In his latest Power On newsletter, Gurman explains that Memoji and SharePlay will enable Apple’s headset to provide a FaceTime experience similar to what Apple users already get on iOS and MacOS.

A persona creating a Memoji on an iPhone running iOS 12.
A person creating a Memoji on an iPhone. Brenda Stolyar/Digital Trends

“I imagine a virtual reality version of FaceTime where you can be in a conference room with dozens of people,” Gurman explained. “Instead of seeing their actual faces, you’ll see 3D versions of them (Memojis). I assume the headset will be able to determine a person’s facial expressions in real time, making the experience fairly lifelike. I would also look for heavy use of SharePlay in the new realityOS, allowing multiple headset wearers to experience music, movies and games together.”

Introduced in 2018, Memojis are customizable cartoon-like avatars that use augmented reality to map themselves to your facial expressions. SharePlay, meanwhile, appeared in 2021 and provides a single set of playback controls to anyone on a group FaceTime call. This allows participants to listen to music or watch a movie together in real time.

These features are in line with what Gurman has claimed before. In January 2022, Gurman stated that communications will be at the heart of Apple’s headset, saying people should expect “Animojis and a VR FaceTime-like experience” will make the product “the new-age Zoom.”

With support for Memoji and SharePlay, Apple could be hoping its headset will provide a familiar experience to anyone who has previously taken part in a FaceTime call. There is speculation that Apple might be laying the groundwork with features in other Apple products, such as spatial audio with dynamic head tracking in AirPods and augmented reality walking directions in Apple Maps.

The more that people are familiar with these features, the thinking goes, the easier the introduction of Apple’s headset will be. And since the device is probably delayed until 2023, there’s still plenty of time for Apple to get us ready.

Editors' Recommendations

Alex Blake
In ancient times, people like Alex would have been shunned for their nerdy ways and strange opinions on cheese. Today, he…
The Apple Vision Pro has given VR its iPhone moment
A person is watching a movie using the Apple Vision Pro.

"One more thing" means you're about to be treated to something groundbreaking -- and that's exactly what happened when Apple CEO Tim Cook uttered those fateful three words at the end of the recent Worldwide Developers Conference 2023 keynote. The Apple Vision Pro is not just another VR headset; no, it's an incredible piece of technology that pushes the boundaries of what we can expect from both virtual reality and augmented reality. The display tech, sensor quality, and polish are like nothing we've ever seen before in a headset — and they signal a big jump forward in VR and AR tech.

The only quibble is the price: $3,500. That's a whole lot of cash, and due to that, I'm not confident the Vision Pro will appear in every other house in the next few years.

Read more
Apple may be forced to change the Vision Pro headset’s name
A person tries on an Apple Vision Pro mixed reality headset in an Apple Store, with an Apple employee alongside them.

Apple’s Vision Pro headset has only just been revealed, but it could already be in trouble. Not only is Apple allegedly struggling to make anywhere near as many units as it wants to, but the company might even be forced to change the device’s moniker in an apparent naming oversight.

That’s because a report from Chinese site MyDrivers (here's the translation) claims that Apple might not be able to use the name Vision Pro in China, as rival tech firm Huawei had already trademarked the title in the country as far back as 2019.

Read more
I thought I would hate Apple’s VR headset, but I was wrong
The Apple Vision Pro reveals the wearer's eyes on a front-facing display.

We all knew it was coming, especially when Tim Cook delivered the famous “one more thing” line during the WWDC 2023 keynote. And boy, did Apple deliver.

It’s been years in the making, with rumors circulating the internet for a very long time now. Finally, all those can be put to rest because Apple dropped its Apple Vision Pro headset today, complete with visionOS. It’s launching in Spring 2024 and will start at a whopping $3,500.

Read more