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Innovation

Apple's AR/VR headset will reportedly feature unique eye, hand tracking

Apple's highly anticipated, mixed reality device will also allow users to participate in FaceTime calls with realistic VR renderings, according to a new Bloomberg report.
Written by Stephanie Condon, Senior Writer on
woman wearing VR headset in front of a pink purple gradient background

When Apple's highly anticipated AR/VR headset hits the market, it will deliver some unique design elements and capabilities that will set it apart from rival offerings, according to a detailed report from Bloomberg

Unlike other headsets that come with hand controllers, Bloomberg reports that the device -- expected to be called Apple Reality Pro -- will allow users to manipulate their AR and VR environments using just their hands and eyes. 

Also: Apple's VR/AR headset is coming. Here's everything we know so far

The new headset's external cameras will track a user's hands, while sensors in the device will track the user's eyes. This will allow the user to control the device with their gaze or by pinching their thumb and index finger together. 

"The eye- and hand-tracking capabilities will be a major selling point for the device," Bloomberg's unnamed sources said. 

Meanwhile, the device will "attempt to create a 3D version of the iPhone's operating system," according to the report, bringing a familiar interface to Apple customers. That means you could see a headset that features a VR version of apps like the Safari web browser, the Apple App Store, and Apple TV+ -- all displayed in a grid of icons.

In a move that demands significant processing power, Apple reportedly plans to offer realistic VR avatars for users during FaceTime calls. By contrast, Meta -- the current leader in the VR headset market -- offers more cartoonish avatars during virtual meetings. 

Also: Apple to delay AR glasses and focus on mixed reality headset

Bloomberg says the FaceTime avatars will show a user's face and full body. However, the headset will only be able to support realistic avatars for two users at a time, each with an Apple headset -- any other users joining a call would have to use icons or Memojis. 

Given the processing power needed for the new device, Apple has reportedly opted to offload the battery from the headset itself. Bloomberg says it will sit in an external pack that goes in the user's pocket and connects via a cable.

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