Apple is set to unveil its Reality Pro, a headset that has been in development for seven years. The big question is whether the headset will have a killer app. One that will make it worth the roughly $3,000 price tag. Apple’s solution is to include as wide a range of apps and use cases as possible. The aim is to appeal to as many people as possible. This is not an unprecedented approach for Apple. It did the same with the Apple Watch. But it remains to be seen whether this tactic will be successful.
“A Mile-Long List of Features”
According to Bloomberg analyst Mark Gurman, Apple’s Reality Pro is packed with an array of features. They include running most of Apple’s existing iPad apps in mixed reality, a new Wellness app with a focus on meditation, the ability to run hundreds of thousands of existing third-party iPad apps from the App Store, and a new portal for watching sports in virtual reality. The headset also has a large gaming focus, advanced videoconferencing and virtual meeting rooms, new collaboration tools via the Freeform app, and a VR-focused Fitness+ experience for working out while wearing the headset. Users will also be able to operate the headset in several different ways, including by hand and eye control and Siri. The big question is whether Apple has enough time to go through all that before users potentially lose interest.
Reality Pro and Market’s Demands
Over time, Apple is expected to refine its strategy for Reality Pro, zoning in on a set of core features. An approach akin to the Apple Watch. After its launch, the device was refocused on fitness and well-being in the years following. The company is planning to unveil a software development kit and Mac-based headset simulator at WWDC. Apple will push attendees to write apps and services for xrOS, its new mixed-reality operating system. To avoid losing consumers early on with an unclear vision, Apple is likely to quickly respond to the market’s demands. With the right price changes and hardware upgrades, a mixed-reality headset could be a key part of Apple’s future.
A New Proprietary Charging Connector
To power the device, a seemingly unusual design choice is the use of an external battery pack. The idea is that you store it in your pocket and a magnetic, proprietary power cable connects to the headset. There are two different connectors on Apple’s new headset. The first is a USB-C connector to handle data transfer. But charging is through the aforementioned proprietary power cable. To prevent the power cable from detaching accidentally, it uses MagSafe and can be locked in place. The power pack is capable of powering the device for two hours. It is said to be similar in design to a MagSafe battery pack, only larger, the size of an iPhone but a bit thicker. You can however charge the battery pack via USB C and according to Gurman, you’ll almost certainly be able to purchase additional packs. The short battery life of Reality Pro is said to be due to the inclusion of high-resolution 4K displays and Apple’s highly capable M2 chip.
The AppleTLDR take
Apple’s Reality Pro headset is a highly anticipated product, but the question remains: Will it have a killer app that will make it worth the high price tag? Apple is going to try to include something for everything in terms of features., but whether this approach will be successful remains to be seen. Given the small size of the mixed reality market right now, however, it isn’t hard to imagine Apple becoming the market leader in a relatively short time frame. Its biggest competitor in the space right now is Meta with its series of Meta Quest headsets. Though Apple enjoys a much more positive reputation in the technology sector than Meta. The opening moves in this chess game have been played.