Apple’s mixed reality headset might require an iPhone to work


Apple is coming for Facebook’s Oculus and Snapchat’s Spectacles with a mixed reality headset of its own. But, at least in its early iterations, it might be a bit light on raw computing power.

A new report from The Information says that the forthcoming headset will only work in tandem with an iPhone, or perhaps another Apple device, like a MacBook. That’s similar to the way the first versions of the Apple Watch worked: It needed to be digitally “tethered” to an iPhone, in order to piggy back on its internet connectivity, to be of much use at all. Otherwise, it just told the time.

Apparently, the chips powering the headset won’t contain the same level of artificial intelligence power that other Apple devices have. That’s why it will need to wirelessly connect to an anchor device.

Rumors have been swirling about Apple’s AR/VR device for a while, but there are still not many concrete details out there about what it will look like or do, and when the public will see it. It’s reportedly going to be wildly expensive, and there actually might be two versions: One more focused on VR and gaming, and another more focused on AR.

In March, Bloomberg reported that Apple would unveil the device (or at least one of the devices?) at an in-person event in the coming months. Considering large in-person gatherings are not so advisable given the prevalence of the coronavirus delta variant — Apple has even delayed its office re-openings from September of this year to 2022 — that timeline isn’t looking very likely.

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