Apple Vision Pro too expensive for you? An iPhone-based headset may be coming

Apple just won a patent for a device that could turn a future iPhone into an AR/VR headset.
Written by Jada Jones, Associate Editor
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Apple secured a patent this week, allowing the company to work on a head-mounted display (HMD) style accessory that encases iPhones. The HMD accessory could allow users to momentarily convert their iPhones into virtual or augmented reality headsets.

At this year's WWDC, Apple announced its most anticipated piece of hardware: The Apple Vision Pro. The Vision Pro's $3,499 price tag threw off many consumers, and even Apple's CEO Tim Cook is unsure that the average person can afford it.

Also: Will Apple's Vision Pro signal the beginning of the immersive internet?

It's been rumored that Apple is also working on a cheaper version of the Vision Pro that might omit the 3D camera and speakers present in the Vision Pro. Still, a more affordable version could cost about $3,000, which is far from affordable for some people.

Apple's new patent suggests that users can place their iPhones or iPads in a receptacle that's configured to a headband with an adjustable strap. The patent was granted to Apple for the accessory, which looks like a pair of goggles.

The patent also suggests that the iPhone should have a detection mechanism to communicate with a target on the headband to establish a wireless connection. This means that Apple is exploring new ways for people to use their iPhones and iPads.

Also: The best VR headsets for gaming, work, and beyond

The actual mechanics behind the headband and how it could communicate with an iPhone or iPad to create a VR experience is unknown. 

Patents don't necessarily mean that a product will ever be created, but it does prove that Apple engineers are considering a way to turn an iPhone or iPad into a VR headset.

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