Apple's rumoured AR/VR headset set for release 'as early as next year' - report

Woman wearing a VR headset
CEO Tim Cook has previously described augmented reality as "critically important". Photo credit: Getty Images

Apple's rumoured augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) headset is a step closer to release, according to a new report.

As part of a recent rebrand, Facebook ditched the 'Oculus' brand for its headset and now journalist Mark Gurman says Apple's own version could be ready to compete with the Meta Quest as early as 2022.

Gurman, who writes the Power On Apple-focused newsletter for Bloomberg, reported the company is "planning to unleash its own pricey device with advanced chips, displays, sensor and avatar-based features as early as next year".

He also claimed Apple's headset will be of the mixed reality variety, having both AR and VR capabilities.

"While gaming can be done in both environments, virtual reality is what you want for seriously high-performance games with top-tier graphics," reported Gurman.

"For Apple's first headset, that's what it's shooting for: A mixed reality experience that can handle games in high-quality virtual reality with snappy chips and high-end displays."

Further down the line an AR-only headset would reportedly be produced, likely much closer in form to standard glasses than a bulkier headset.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has already said AR is a "critically important" part of Apple's future that he says will change how people communicate with friends, colleagues and family.

In an interview with journalist Kara Swisher, he also said it would have a big impact on communication in health, gaming, education and in retail.

"I'm already seeing AR take off in some of these areas with use of the phone. And I think the promise is even greater in the future," he said.

Earlier this year respected tech analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said he expected an AR headset from Apple by 2025, with augmented reality contact lenses by the end of the decade.

Previous rumours about the Cupertino-based company's headset said it would feature 8K displays, more than a dozen cameras and LiDAR sensors to track hand movement.

Gurman's use of the word "pricey" to describe the headset also backs up the previous report, which said it would retail for around US$3000 - which is 10 times the cost of the 128GB version of Facebook's Quest 2.