Apple’s VR vision comes into focus

This is the slow time in the world of gadgets and consumer tech, a product purgatory between CES and phone announcement season that makes for a lack of device news. At this point, there’s only one thing to do in this week’s collection of gadget news: dive deep into the rumor and find out what Apple is up to.

Once again, new details have leaked about Apple’s ongoing plans to build an AR/VR headset and a mixed reality ecosystem. Thanks to reports from Bloomberg and The informationApple’s vision for the most anticipated device in years comes into sharper focus.

Apple seems keen to create a device that replicates its iOS mobile experience in a virtual or augmented world. The headset, which will likely be called Reality Pro according to Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman and will be released later this year, will use internal and external cameras to track eye and hand movements, allowing you to play with AR objects projected into real spaces . It enables AR FaceTime calls, with realistically rendered video of the person wearing the headset. This reportedly works for one-to-one calls, where calls with multiple people show them all as Apple’s slightly gruesome Animoji cartoons.

Apple has also been quietly building an AR software environment in which it and other companies can build apps. Apparently, Apple has used technology commonly used in video games, such as procedural generation, to create virtual environments, such as a meditation garden and even an interactive The Story of Dr. Seuss.

The headset is reportedly going to cost around $3,000, with cheaper models slated for final release in 2024 or 2025.

Here’s some more gadget news from this week.

Microsoft will stop selling Windows 10

Windows 10, widely regarded as a pretty decent operating system, is being phased out in favor of its usually fine successor. Microsoft says it will happen after January 31 no longer sell licenses for Windows 10.

But it doesn’t completely break the operating system – at least not quite yet. On the Windows 10 store page, a disclaimer states that Microsoft will support Windows 10 until October 14, 2025. That’s about a decade of life for the operating system, which is on track with Microsoft’s past support of its popular operating systems. (Microsoft dropped support for the hugely popular Windows 7 in 2020, more than a decade after it was released.) Still, it indicates that Microsoft is eager to move more fully to the Windows 11 era. The company released the first major update to its new operating system last September.

Substack gets a private mode

Substack, the independent newsletter and blogging platform that has become a darling of independent journalists, is getting a private mode. It works like your edgy Finsta account or Twitter Circle, where only people you’ve approved can see posts. Comparing it directly to Instagram’s private mode, the company says this will give Substackers a way to test out feeds or make posts available only to friends or certain communities. (You know it’s only a matter of time until some writer accidentally posts a horny 8,000 word screed on main.)

The move has an almost nostalgic appeal. After all, having a blog that few people read will probably feel very familiar to those of us who were online circa 2007.

U TikTalking 2 Me?

TikTok has been in the news a lot lately, especially as everyone continues to ban the app in the US. Still, the app continues to release silent updates to its platform. The latest is the ability to customize who you receive DMs from.

You can choose between being available to DMs from anyone, mutual followers, or suggested friends. The suggested friend mode allows DMs from people you’ve added through your contacts or other social media services like Facebook. You can also disable DMs altogether. It’s not as extensive as Instagram’s recent quality-of-life updates that focus on protecting younger users, but it’s clear that TikTok is prioritizing DMs as a way to get people to interact with the app.

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