Apple VR Headset: News, Rumors, and Expected Price, Release Date, and Specs

Watch for Apple's first VR headset by Summer 2023

At least two Apple headsets are looking to take shape over the next few years, and the first, possibly called Apple Reality Pro and to be released in 2023, could be a premium virtual reality / augmented reality headset. Some expectations include the ability to use it as a display paired with a Mac, eye and hand-tracking, and FaceTime-based videoconferencing.

When Will the Apple VR Headset Be Released?

According to Front Page Tech, Apple reporter and leaker Mark Gurman has confirmed that the company is working on multiple headsets, and he even has a name for the first one:

There are at least three Apple headsets in development that I know of: N301, N602 and N421. The first headset is what will probably end up being called the Apple Reality Pro.

If N301 is the code name for the VR or MR headset, one of the other two must correspond to the augmented reality headset, dubbed Apple Glasses (which is currently no longer in development).

With the order somewhat figured out, all that's left is the release date. Respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo gives a general release date timeframe of 2Q23, with availability in stores by WWDC 2023.

However, a more recent report, this time from Gurman, says that Apple's new plan is to announce the headset in the spring and then ship it in the fall. He also tells us that another mixed reality headset is slated for 2024 or 2025; the later date is backed up by Kuo.

Lifewire's Release Date Estimate

We'll stick with Gurman's prediction for now. Look for an announcement sometime before WWDC in June, with a late-2023 release date, possibly alongside the iPhone 15. Learn when the next Apple event will be; we could see a glimpse of this headset anytime.

Apple VR Headset Price Rumors

Our guess is somewhere between the $2,000 and $3,000 range. This same price point is supported by Kuo.

Since no official pricing structure has been revealed, all we can do is guess. Keep in mind, this is also the company's first attempt at hardware like this, so it's tough to come up with an accurate estimate.

The 2022 Meta Quest Pro launched at $1,500, which is definitely in line with how Apple prices its other products—the iPhone 14 Pro Max is just over $1,000.

However, Apple might consider the VR headset unlike the iPhone in the sense that it won't sell like hotcakes, so they could bank on just a subset of fans buying in—specifically, professionals, much like Meta's target audience. If so, they could launch it at a very premium price, not unlike Microsoft's $3,500 HoloLens 2.

Apple plans to release a more affordable headset a few years after this one, according to Mark Gurman.

Pre-Order Information

Pre-ordering isn't open yet because Apple hasn't officially announced the VR headset. We'll provide the link here when pre-ordering commences.

Apple VR headset render
Apple VR headset render.

Ian Zelbo

Apple VR Headset Features & Specs

According to Tom's Guide, Mark Gurman has said that Apple's headset will be designed for "short trips into VR," as opposed to Meta's dream where you wear it as much as possible for the Metaverse. Apple reportedly sees their headset as something you'd use for gaming, viewing content, and communicating, though it might be working on its own virtual world.

We all know what VR headsets look like. There's a strap positioned around the head to keep it in place, and it covers your eyes completely to block out your regular vision. This is the idea behind other VR headsets, and it's what we expect from Apple as well.

What's not so clear is how it will work. It could be tethered to a power source, meaning you can't freely move around the room or use it outside. But what's more likely is a standalone device with its own power, in which case there'd probably be huge restrictions in how it could be used—think performance and battery life. One estimate we've seen is two hours per battery pack.

Something we could see being used in this headset is a passthrough technique so that cameras are used to show your real environment within the headset, right next to the VR data. This would turn it into a sort of mixed-reality device.

The headset is said to have many of the same features found on an iPhone or iPad. This 3D world will let you access familiar apps like Safari, Mail, texts, and more. Gurman says it'll "switch between AR and VR" (through a so-called digital crown) and include an iOS-like interface that can also show your Mac display. It's obvious that Apple would heavily integrate the rest of its products into this one. Think FaceTime and SharePlay coupled with face tracking for immersive movie experiences.

Interacting with virtual elements will probably be done through either just your hand and eye movements, or through a small finger ring of some kind. Even the Apple Watch might be able to server as a remote of some kind.

AppleInsider reports that leaks reveal that the company has tested chips for its VR headset that outperform the processors from M1 Macs. This makes sense since Apple unveiled M2 in mid-2022. Similar silicon for the VR headset makes sense.

There's no doubt that Apple would offer stylish headbands to match the rest of its product lines. Especially considering the iPhone would likely serve as a companion device, a matching set would definitely be desirable for any dedicated Apple fan.

On that note, Mark Gurman says the headset won't require using the iPhone for text input because it might support "in-air typing."

We've heard that Apple could opt for a lightweight casing to drop the overall weight of the headset. This would make it easier to wear for longer periods of time. Plus, if the rumor is true that a battery could be built into one of the headbands, this would increase wear time due to the weight offset and increased battery life.

Here are some other specs we've heard could make their way into this headset:

  • Ultra-high-resolution 8K displays for realistic scenery using Sony OLED Microdisplay
  • Special lenses which automatically adjust to the wearer's vision requirements (as opposed to custom-made lenses that fit each person's prescription)
  • A fan to deal with heat from the processor and battery
  • Foveated rendering for precise eye tracking to prioritize detail for what you're looking at and downgrade quality in your peripheral vision. This should save power
  • Iris scanning for authenticating your account and making payments
  • Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says that the headset will feature 15 cameras: eight for passthrough images, six for biometrics, and one for environmental detection
  • A custom operating system called xrOS is expected to have MR versions of Messages, FaceTime, Maps, and likely other core apps

The Latest News About the Apple VR Headset

You can get more Smart & Connected Life news from Lifewire on all kinds of topics; here are some stories and rumors specific to the Apple VR headset:

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