Apple’s VR/AR headset has had a rocky few months on the run up to an imminent announcement at WWDC. But according to a new report from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, the company is going to focus on five key apps to justify the price.
But will they actually make that $3,000 cost feel worthwhile for potential users? I’m not so sure. Let’s take a look at what the report talked about.
1. Watching live sports in VR
The big one coming out of this leak could be the next step in Apple TV’s live sports. Friday Night Baseball could be getting the VR treatment, with the option to get the front row seat immersion of watching the game.
It could be one of the larger selling points, as exclusive content has always been a make-or-break factor to a lot of VR headsets. For example, there’s a reason why the Pico 4 headset is a solid piece of hardware, but in the face of the Meta Quest 2, it has a mountain to climb in terms of apps and games.
2. VR FaceTime
According to Gurman, there will be “a version of the FaceTime conferencing service.” Details are a little thin on the ground, but in regards to a VR headset, you can only assume it’s going to be some form of metaverse-esque chat space with the tighter controls you expect from Apple.
What does this mean for turning memoji into a full blown avatar creation service? I don’t know. But hopefully I can turn myself into a shark, as that is 100% my favorite.
3. Immersive Apple Fitness
Alongside VR FaceTime, we could see a revamped version of Apple Fitness+ too, which makes all those workout sessions all the more immersive. This would mean training videos would place you within that workout room Apple uses for all its content.
The ultimate question here would come to the actual usability of it. The reported premium materials being used to construct this headset could mean additional weight, and the battery pack you put in your pocket could mean a cable could get in the way of your flailing arms.
4. An “optimized” version of Safari
A web browser is important to any headset — giving you access to VR content on YouTube, and unlocking various other big screen experiences. So naturally, Apple is bringing Safari to the Reality Pro.
Not only that, but it goes to the point of what I’ll say in number five, which is to give you everything in one place rather than having to move over to your iPhone, iPad or MacBook to make up for the shortfall.
5. The rest of the iOS party
And finally, Gurman reports on Apple’s work on adapting iPad apps to the VR world. These include “optimized versions” of services including “calendars, contacts, files, home control, mail, maps, messaging, notes, photos, and reminders, as well as its music, news, stocks and weather apps.”
Essentially, the team is relying on its tight integration with all the stuff you know and love on iOS, so it becomes a one stop shop. That way, you don’t need to go through the rigmarole of switching devices to interact with Apple’s various services.
Apple is clearly throwing the kitchen sink at its VR headset problem. Confidence is not running high in a successful launch, and while I commend the attempt to provide more stuff to do on the headset, I don’t think they will be enough to sell you on a $3,000 system.
There needs to be a killer app, and that will come down to how rapidly the app store library grows. My gut feeling is screaming “this is a proof of concept” at the top of its lungs, so while it’s going to look awesome on the WWDC stage for sure, the first generation Apple VR headset is probably going to be a tough sell.
I always say “wait for the second generation,” when it comes to Apple products, and it goes doubly so for its VR aspirations — given there may be a cheaper version in the works.
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Jason brings a decade of tech and gaming journalism experience to his role as a writer at Laptop Mag. He takes a particular interest in writing articles and creating videos about laptops, headphones and games. He has previously written for Kotaku, Stuff and BBC Science Focus. In his spare time, you'll find Jason looking for good dogs to pet or thinking about eating pizza if he isn't already.