It is known that, for at least five years, Apple has been working on wearables that combine augmented and virtual reality, but, until then, little was known about the progress of these devices. Now, Bloomberg has released an article that sheds light on several issues related to internal processes, such as conflicts over product design and details about what may be in the plans of the Apple company.
Apple vice president Mike Rockwell and his team are working on two devices: a pair of augmented reality glasses (N421), and a headset combining the two technologies (AR and VR), the N301. The second would be the subject of discussions among professionals.
Initially designed to be a unique and powerful system, with high graphics and processing speed, its overheating problems would be responsible for the headset’s infeasibility. So Rockwell decided to turn it into a kind of hub that would connect the headset to a Wi-Fi network – similar to a small Mac. The initial design would not be discarded and would be able to work independently, with fewer resources.
Conflicts started. Jony Ive, former head of design at Apple, did not like the idea of the need for an additional device for full operation.
After several meetings, in which even Tim Cook, CEO of the company, stood by him, Jony Ive suggested the design of a separate, less powerful headset, as well as expressing his preference for glasses, which, supposedly, he considers more appropriate for not taking (so much) people out of the real world.
Bloomberg provided a description of the set suggested by Ive, in progress, based on the testimony of people who tested prototypes: “Although it is technologically less ambitious than the initial proposal, it is well advanced. It is being prepared to support high definition screens that make it almost impossible to differentiate the virtual world from reality. A cinematic speaker system will make the experience even more powerful. ”
Among other details, an appearance similar to that of Facebook’s Oculus Quest is highlighted; an own app store, bringing games, video streaming software and apps to virtual meetings; and integration with Siri for both the glasses and the headset, with no physical control options being ruled out.
Finally, the website indicates that, it seems, everyone is finally aligned. In addition, the Rockwell team has achieved complete independence from the rest of the company and we may see the results of the projects being announced next year.
The headset is expected to start shipping in 2022, while the glasses are only expected to hit the market in 2023.