New York: Apple appears poised to unveil a long-rumored headset that will place its users between the virtual and real world, while also testing the technology trendsetter’s ability to popularize new-fangled devices after others failed to capture the public’s imagination.
After years of speculation, the stage is set for the widely anticipated announcement to be made Monday at Apple’s annual developers conference in a Cupertino, California, theater named after the company’s late co-founder Steve Jobs. Apple is also likely to use the event to show off its latest Mac computer, preview the next operating system for the iPhone and discuss its strategy for artificial intelligence.
But the star of the show is expected to be a pair of goggles — perhaps called “Reality Pro,” according to media leaks.
Apple’s lineage of breakthroughs date back to a bow-tied Jobs peddling the first Mac in 1984 —a tradition that continued with the iPod in 2001, the iPhone in 2007, the iPad in 2010, the Apple Watch in 2014 and its AirPods in 2016.
But with a hefty price tag that could be in the $3,000 range, Apple’s new headset may also be greeted with a lukewarm reception from all but affluent technophiles.
If the new device turns out to be a niche product, it would leave Apple in the same bind as other major tech companies and startups that have tried selling headsets or glasses equipped with technology that either thrusts people into artificial worlds or projects digital images with scenery and things that are actually in front of them — a format known as “augmented reality.”
Apple’s goggles are expected to be sleekly designed and capable of toggling between totally virtual or augmented options, a blend sometimes known as “mixed reality.” That flexibility also is sometimes called external reality, or XR for shorthand.