AR or VR, what’s next for Apple?

James Turnham

Feb 02, 2023 | 3 min read

Everyone knows that Apple’s big foray into the AR/VR space is coming, the big question is when it’ll arrive and the form it’s going to take. After the first trickle of information reached the general public in 2018, all eyes have been on Apple.

However, if we put on our deerstalkers and light our pipes, we might be able to piece the various clues together and take an educated guess.

Since then they’ve stayed very, very quiet about their plans to the extent that as it stands we’re not even sure whether Apple intends to use augmented reality or virtual reality. That said, we know that Apple CEO Tim Cook’s preference towards AR is well documented, talking about it extensively in various interviews and has strongly indicated that he sees it as the technology of the future.

However, behind the scenes, there have been rumblings that there have been internal disagreements within Apple about what technology they should focus on. The whisperings seem to reveal that though AR may be Tim Cook’s preferred tech, it is proving far harder than virtual reality to turn into a working, viable product. After seeing Google’s failure to successfully launch Google Glass, Apple is likely working hard to learn as much as possible from Google’s mistakes before releasing their own AR product.

These difficulties go some way to explaining the mounting rumours that Apple intends to release multiple devices, starting with a VR headset, rather than a single killer tool. While nothing is currently confirmed, this appears to be backed by a slew of trademarks that Apple have claimed, namely “Reality” and “Reality Pro.”

The Apple watchers believe that the first of these to be released will be the Reality Pro at some point in 2023, after a possible reveal in January, aimed primarily, as the name suggests, at developers and professionals. The base model, intended for the broader mass market, seems to be slated to be released later in the same year. As with everything else surrounding the new product, there’s a great deal of speculation regarding the price point of the VR device ranging from a possible eye-watering $3000 for the initial Reality Pro and at least $1000 for the anticipated “basic” consumer model Reality.

However, some sources have the price of the Reality being as high as $2000 dollars which while cheaper than the Pro version would still be a truly astronomical price tag, especially considering that Meta’s top-end Quest Pro VR headset will be retailing an already heavy $1500.

That said, though details about the precise specifications of Apple’s device are limited at best various rumours point to adopters of the system getting their hands on some very capable high-end kit well beyond Meta’s offering with 8k visual displays capable of supporting eye-tracking and the possibility of some kind of mixed reality by combining VR with limited elements of AR.

However, despite Apple’s VR headset likely sharing its mixed reality capability with the Quest Pro, it looks like we’re going to have to wait until Apple officially announces the device before we can draw any comparisons between the two.