CNet’s Story About an AR/VR Product From Apple Sounds Like an Early Proof of Concept Prototype, Not a Product

Shara Tibken, reporting last week for CNet:

The company is working on a headset capable of running both AR and VR technology, according to a person familiar with Apple’s plans. Plans so far call for an 8K display for each eye — higher resolution than today’s best TVs — that would be untethered from a computer or smartphone, the person said.

The project, codenamed T288, is still in its early stages but is slated for release in 2020. Apple still could change or scrap its plans.

I do believe that good VR will require 8K displays. If you haven’t tried high-end VR yet, you might think that having the display(s) so close to your eyes would mean you don’t need so many pixels, but I can tell you that you do. The best VR headsets on the market today look very pixel-y.

But I don’t believe for a second that it’s feasible to have a consumer headset running dual 8K displays in 2020, let alone on battery.

Apple’s headset would connect to a dedicated box using a high-speed, short-range wireless technology, according to a person familiar with the company’s plans. The box, which would be powered by a custom Apple processor more powerful than anything currently available, would act as the brain for the AR/VR headset. In its current state, the box resembles a PC tower, but it won’t be an actual Mac computer.

VR and AR require the lowest possible latency and the highest possible refresh rates. These dual 8K displays are going to be driven wirelessly? In two years?

I know for a fact Apple is working on VR/AR headset projects, but this sounds like something that’s at the stage the iPhone was at when it looked like this — a research product / crude prototype that bore no resemblance to the ultimate product that shipped.

Thursday, 3 May 2018