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Apple is reportedly working on a cheaper mixed-reality headset

The flagship headset, which hasn't been announced yet, is expected to cost $3,000.
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 10: People walk along Broadway in front of the Apple retail store on January 10, 2023, in New York City.  (Photo by Gary Hershorn/Getty Images)
Gary Hershorn via Getty Images
Mariella Moon
Mariella Moon|@mariella_moon|January 18, 2023 1:30 AM

Apple is already working on a more affordable version of its yet-to-be-announced mixed reality headset, according to Bloomberg and The Information. Based on previous reports about the long-rumored mixed reality device, it will cost around $3,000, which is double the price of the Quest Pro headset Meta released last year. Apple's engineers are reportedly working to develop a more budget-friendly version that's closer to the price of the Quest Pro and are already discussing strategies to achieve that goal, such as using cheaper components. 

While the flagship device will have 4K internal displays for each eye, its more affordable counterpart will likely use ones with lower resolution. The company's engineers are also considering the use of fewer cameras and slower processors, which would, in turn, eliminate the need for internal fans. Apple might ask users to manually adjust their field of view for the cheaper headset instead of equipping it with a motor that can automatically do that. It might choose not to equip the device with its custom H2 wireless chip that would allow it to work better with AirPods, as well. A Bloomberg report earlier this month claimed the tech giant is developing its own Bluetooth and WiFi chip to replace Broadcom's by 2025. The Information said Apple could also choose to use that in-house chip to prevent a third-party company from affecting the device's pricing.

The cheaper mixed reality headset is in its very early stages, the sources reported, and Apple has yet to build a working prototype. According to Bloomberg, though, the majority of Apple's 1,000-person Technology Development Group is working on the two headsets and that the company could release it next year or in 2025. As a result of this dual-device strategy, though, Apple has reportedly put its plans to launch lightweight augmented reality glasses on hold. The company's original vision was to create AR glasses that could one day replace the iPhone, but it has now scaled back work on the project. It's now apparently unclear if the AR glasses will ever launch. 

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As for Apple's flagship mixed reality headset, Bloomberg previously said that the company plans to formally announce it this spring ahead of WWDC in June. 

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Apple is reportedly working on a cheaper mixed-reality headset