Apple’s futuristic mixed reality viewer can be equipped with iris scanning to recognize the user and thus authenticate and authorize payments, thus distinguishing itself from the new Quest Pro viewer just introduced by Meta.
The report comes from The Information, which could have drawn anticipation from two sources close to the project, who would have even helped develop the viewer itself. According to what has been said, Apple’s viewer is able to scan the iris to quickly access accounts and make payments, similar to what happens with Face ID and even earlier with Touch ID fingerprints.
To enable iris scanning, the internal cameras of the Apple headset will know where users are looking at. Eye tracking will also allow Apple to reduce the graphics resolution in the user’s peripheral vision, thus reducing the amount of processing power required for headphone graphics. Apple’s purchase of German startup SensoMotoric Instruments in 2017 is said to have allowed it to build the technology.
The report reiterated rumors that the Apple headset will be equipped with 14 cameras, compared to 10 applicable to the MetaQuest Pro headset, which are designed to capture movement and accurately represent real-world movements on digital avatars. Two downward-facing cameras are also expected to capture the wearer’s legs, providing another feature the Quest Pro lacks, though Zuckemberg in his latest render announced the arrival of legged avatars in the app.
As for the design, the Apple headset should resemble a “pair of ski goggles” and therefore different from the Quest Pro, and the device should also be thinner and lighter than the Quest Pro, which weighs 722 grams. Additionally, the report says that the headset will allow eyeglass wearers to magnetically clip the custom lenses inside the device.
There may also be a display on the outside to allow others to see the wearer’s facial expressions. Despite concerns about how the display might weigh on battery life, it is said to be able to operate at a lower refresh rate to save power, similar to the always-on displays in the Apple Watch and iPhone.
Instead, Apple’s second generation of headphones is planned for 2025, which is also more compact and cheaper, while the glasses-style model will follow later in time and only for augmented reality. For Mark Zuckerberg, Meta and Apple are in tight competition for the metaverse.