Report Details Apple MR Headset Design Challenges and Internal Obstacles

Report Details Apple MR Headset Design Challenges and Internal Obstacles
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Apple is a notorious black box when it comes to internal projects, though sometimes details based on supply chain rumors shed some light on what might be happening with the company’s AR/VR headset behind closed doors. . Direct internal leaks are much less common from Apple, but a report from information alleges that 10 people from Apple’s mixed reality headset project team detailed some of the past design challenges and the possible direction the headset could take in the future.

The report (via 9to5Mac) details a few trivia dating back to 2016, when the company reportedly first showed off a number of AR and VR prototypes to industry leaders and the Apple elite.

Former Vice President Al Gore, then-Disney CEO Bob Iger, and other Apple board members walked from room to room, trying out prototypes of augmented reality devices and software and Virtual. One of the gadgets caused a tiny digital rhino to appear on a table in the room. The creature then became a life-size version of itself, according to two people familiar with the meeting. In the same demo, the dull environment of the room transformed into a lush forest, showing how users could seamlessly transition from augmented reality, in which they can still see the physical world around them, to the more immersive experience of virtual reality, a combination known as mixed reality.

It was more of a concept showcase at the time, according to the report, as some prototypes ran on Windows while others were based on the original HTC Vive. Like the “Sword of Damocles” built by Ivan Sutherland in the late 1960s – the founding father of virtual reality – one of these prototypes was also supposed to be so heavy that it was “suspended by a small crane so that the members of Apple’s board of directors can wear it without forcing it”. their necks.

None of this is particularly uncommon practice in hardware development – just ask Magic Leap insiders from the early days – but the report notes that the company’s MR headset didn’t get the same support from current Apple CEO Tim Cook that Steve Jobs had for iPhone development. The report says Cook “rarely visits the group at its offices away from Apple’s main campus.”

There were also allegedly political infighting that hampered development, which we heard in a previous report from 2019, when it was alleged that Apple was pump breaks on helmet due to a discord between then-Apple hardware designer Jony Ive and project manager Mike Rockwell. Ive since left the company in 2019 to pursue his own design business, Love of.

Rockwell, Meier and Rothkopf were quickly pushed back by Ive’s team. The three men had originally wanted to build a VR headset, but Ive’s group had concerns about the technology, said three people who worked on the project. They believed that virtual reality alienated users from others by cutting them off from the outside world, made users old-fashioned, and lacked practical uses. Apple’s industrial designers weren’t convinced consumers would be willing to wear headsets for long periods of time, two of the people said.

While teams proposed adding passthrough cameras to the front of the headset, codenamed N301, Apple’s industrial designers were decidedly more intrigued by a concept than sources say. information was an “outward-facing screen on the helmet. The screen could show video images of the person wearing the headset’s eyes and facial expressions to other people in the room.

The report goes no further than 2019, however. Information Wayne Ma is expected to post an article soon that will cover “a pivotal moment for Apple headphones.”

As we said, Apple is a black box, which means it doesn’t comment on ongoing projects or respond meaningfully to requests for clarity from the media. A review of past reports, however, can provide a rough picture of what to expect. The information below is based on reports, so please take it with a grain of salt.

What we (think we know) about the N301 mixed reality headset

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