Report: Apple’s Reality Pro headset won’t require an iPhone, but some features are ‘finicky in testing’

Apple is hard at work refining the first version of its AR/VR headset ahead of an expected June announcement. A new report from Bloomberg today has a few details on the Reality Pro headset’s features and limitations, including whether or not it’ll require an iPhone to be set up…

In the latest edition of his Power On newsletter, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reports that the latest test versions of the Reality Pro headset “won’t require an iPhone for setup or use.” This is a notable change from past Apple devices, such as the Apple Watch, which originally required an iPhone for setup.

Instead, Reality Pro’s headset will support being set up independent of an iPhone and can then download the user’s data directly from iCloud. Similar to the setup process for other Apple devices, however, you will have the option to transfer your data directly from an iPhone or iPad to the headset.

Unlike other AR/VR headsets on the market, the Reality Pro headset won’t have a remote control and will instead rely on the user’s eyes and hands for control. Bloomberg says that “in-air typing” will be a key feature for test input, but is “finicky in testing.”

A key feature for text input — in-air typing — is available on the latest internal prototypes, I’m told. But it’s been finicky in testing. So if you get the first headset, you still may want to pair an iPhone to use its touch-screen keyboard. The hope within Apple is to make rapid improvements after the device is released. The company expects its headset to follow the same path as the original Apple Watch in that respect.

Looking further ahead, Bloomberg says Apple is working on a second-generation Reality Pro headset with a specific focus on performance:

I’m told the focus of the second Pro headset is performance. While the first model will have an M2 chip — plus a secondary chip for AR and VR processing — it’s not powerful enough to output graphics at a level Apple would ideally like.

Apple’s first headset was initially planned to be even more powerful, featuring a separate hub with additional processing power that could be beamed to the device across a home wirelessly. But former Apple design chief Jony Ive nixed that idea. Now the company is working to add a more powerful processor (perhaps a variant of the M3 or M4) for the second model, helping bridge that gap.

The Reality Pro headset is currently slated to be unveiled at WWDC in June, with a release sometime later this year.

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