How The Divisions At Apple Had An Impact On Its AR/VR Headsets Design

Today, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman shared internal development stories on Apple's AR and VR headset project, which revolved around the divisions at Apple between former Chief Designer Jony Ive and the exec Mike Rockwell that led it to change the designs.

The N301 was originally designed as an ultra-powerful system, and its graphics and processing speed are unheard of by wearable products. The processing capability is highly advanced, but due to its exceedingly powerful performance, it generates a lot of heat and it couldn’t be crammed into a sleek headset. Instead, the team, head up by Rockwell, plans to sell a stationary hub to take on the computing task. The prototype of the hub is similar to a small Mac, which can be connected to the head-mounted device through wireless signals.

Ive is frustrated with the prospect of selling headsets. The headset requires a separate fixed device to be fully functional. He encouraged Rockwell and his team to redevelop the N301 around weaker technologies that could be fully embedded in the device. Rockwell opposes. He maintains that wireless hubs can deliver the performance to a new level, so the stalemate has lasted for several months.

Eventually, Tim Cook seconded Ive. As a result, the headset no longer communicates with a separate hub. Although the headset currently being developed does not meet the original expectations, it is already quite advanced. It has an ultra-high-resolution screen, which almost prevents users from distinguishing the virtual world from the real world. People who have used a prototype say that the movie speaker system will make the experience more realistic.

It is said that the prototype of N301 resembles a smaller Oculus Quest (Facebook's VR gear), whose main body is fabric, but not so much of plastic than Quest. Apple's engineering team is still experimenting with devices that include different head aspects to find the ideal way to wear it, and the price has not yet been determined.

Apple hopes that this device will have its own App Store, focusing on gaming and streaming video content, while also operating as a super high-tech communication device for virtual meetings. Siri will control the headset.

The N301 headset seems to be just one of Apple's ongoing AR/VR projects. Another product is said to be a pair of AR glasses code-named N421. The current prototype is said to be similar to expensive sunglasses with a "thick frame that can house battery and chips." Ive, who left Apple last year, is said to prefer the concept of N421 glasses.

Apple’s augmented reality headset is expected to be released in 2022, followed by stylish augmented reality glasses to be released in 2023.

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