Apple 'demonstrates new headset' to board ahead of product announcement - report

Development has reached an 'advanced stage', according to insiders.
Development has reached an 'advanced stage', according to insiders. Photo credit: Getty Images

Apple's much-rumoured augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR) headset appears a step closer after the device was reportedly demonstrated to the company's board.

Mark Gurman, who writes the Apple-focused Power On newsletter for Bloomberg, said it was an indication that development had reached "an advanced stage".

Citing people who asked not to be identified because the meeting was private, Gurman said the company's board - made up of CEO Tim Cook and eight independent directors - were shown the headset during their latest meeting.

Bloomberg had previously stated that the headset is scheduled for release in 2023, although it could be announced earlier. That could come as soon as Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June.

The report also said work on the operating system of the device had ramped up in the last few months, with the Cupertino-based tech giant also working on AR versions of core iPhone apps.

Earlier reports from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said the headset would have the same processing power as the company's computers.

"It has Mac-level computing power, it can operate independently without relying on a Mac or an iPhone and it supports a comprehensive range of applications rather than specific applications," Kuo wrote earlier this year.

"The higher-end processor will have similar computing power as the M1 for Mac, whereas the lower-end processor will be in charge of sensor-related computing."

Kuo also suggested the headset would have two Sony 4K micro-OLED displays and was destined to be a long-term replacement for the company's phone.

"Apple's AR headset requires a separate processor as the computing power of the sensor is significantly higher than that of the iPhone," Kuo said.

"If the headset is positioned only as an accessory for the Mac or iPhone, it will not be conducive to the growth of the product. An AR headset that works independently means that it will have its own ecosystem and provide the most complete and flexible user experience."

Multiple 3D sensors will ensure the headset has gesture control and object detection, with eye tracking, skin detection, voice control and expression detection also likely.

Kuo expects the first generation of the headset to weigh between 300 and 400 grams, making it relatively lightweight compared to others on the market, with Apple said to be expecting between 2.5 and 3.5 million headsets to be sold.

Early adopters would likely have to pay a significant premium, he said, with a second-generation design already underway that is lighter and has faster processors, Kuo said.