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Report Reveals Wave of New Features for Apple’s Mixed-Reality Headset, Including Digital Crown for Switching to Real-World View

Apple’s mixed-reality headset will feature a physical dial for switching to a view of the real-world, small motors to automatically adjust its lenses, and much more, according to The Information.

Concept render based on purported leaked information by Ian Zelbo
The paywalled report purports to reveal a range of previously unheard-of features for the headset, including:

  • A small, Digital Crown-like dial on its right side that enables users to quickly transition between the virtual and physical world. Unlike the Apple Watch, it will not offer haptic feedback.
  • While it was once rumored that the headband would be interchangeable like Apple Watch bands, that is no longer the case, since engineers faced technical challenges with the headband acting as a “conduit for power” to the headset.
  • Magnetically attachable custom prescription lenses for glasses-wearers.
  • Small motors to automatically adjust its lenses to match the wearer’s interpupillary distance, providing the largest field of view possible for each individual.
  • A 120-degree field of view – more than the Meta Quest Pro and Valve Index’s 106-degree field of view.
  • The H2 chip for ultra-low latency connection with the second-generation AirPods Pro.
  • Two chips, including a main SoC, including a CPU, GPU, and memory, and a dedicated image signal processor. Both are fabricated with a 5nm process, meaning that the headset misses out on advancements expected to come to other Apple chips later this year. The chips communicate via a custom streaming codec that Apple was forced to develop due to unacceptable latency.
  • The dedicated ISP translates the distorted images captured by the external cameras into a faithful video representation of the user’s surroundings with low latency. The chip contains custom high-bandwidth memory made by SK Hynix.

The Information also independently confirmed the presence of features previously reported by sources like Bloomberg, Nikkei Asia, and DigiTimes:

  • The headset contains a large outward-facing display on the front of the device. It can show the facial expressions of the headset’s wearer to people around them, seeking to reduce a sense of isolation when using the device.
  • This outward-facing display features an ultra-low refresh rate and reduced power consumption, much like the always-on display of the Apple Watch and iPhone 14 Pro.
  • Interior Micro OLED displays for each eye with a 4K resolution, made by Sony, forming an 8K image overall.
  • Each eye is tracked by at least one camera, allowing the headset to accurately show the user’s gaze on an avatar. Eye-tracking also enables the headset to perform foveated rendering to conserve power by only rendering imagery in full resolution directly where the user is looking.
  • More than a dozen cameras and sensors capture both facial expressions and body movements, including the user’s legs. Apple removed cameras to capture eyebrow and jaw movements when it developed machine learning to accomplish this.
  • Both short- and long-range LiDAR scanners to map surfaces and distances in three dimensions.

The report claims that Apple supplier Pegatron assembled thousands of prototype units of the headset last year at a facility near Shanghai, having passed multiple prototyping stages and entering engineering validation testing. It added that the device was originally supposed to launch in 2022.

In addition, Apple has allegedly discussed pricing the headset at around $3,000 or more depending on its configuration, according to four people with knowledge of the matter speaking to The Information.

More to follow…Related Roundup: Apple GlassesTag: theinformation.comRelated Forum: Apple Glasses, AR and VR
This article, “Report Reveals Wave of New Features for Apple’s Mixed-Reality Headset, Including Digital Crown for Switching to Real-World View” first appeared on MacRumors.com

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