If you want to virtual reality, you were probably focused on the news coming out of CES this week. There was no shortage of new augmented reality glasses and virtual reality headsets. But the biggest AR-VR news came from a company that deliberately didn’t announce it at CES.
This week, more leaks surfaced about Apple’s upcoming mixed reality headset. A report from The Information outlined one lots of new details about the most highly anticipated wearable in years. According to unnamed Apple insiders working on the project, a slew of features are coming to the goggle-shaped device. Some of them, such as foveated rendering and pass-through rendering, can also be found in competing headsets like the Meta Quest Pro and Sony’s upcoming PS VR2. But Apple’s headset aims to be lighter than the Quest Pro and more maneuverable than either competitor.
Internal sensors automatically adjust the 8K images (4K for each eyeball) to the user’s unique facial features. Some features also seem aimed at making wearing a headset feel less like being hermetically sealed in a digital silo on your own. Cameras on the inside can translate your facial expressions to a display on the outside of the device. An Apple Watch-like dial on the side lets you quickly switch between VR views and color views of the real world around you. Much to Meta’s chagrin, Apple’s headset could even capture leg movements.
The leaks also revealed some limitations. Bluetooth earbuds not made by Apple reportedly don’t sync well with the headset. There’s no headphone jack, so you’ll need AirPods or one of the earphone straps with speakers Apple is apparently developing. And while there’s no hint of a release date, production of the device has reportedly been delayed several times. Apple could be ready to announce the device later this year.
Here’s some other consumer tech news.
Apple is reportedly canceling iPhone SE
According to Ming-Chi Kuo, a analyst with TF International Securities, Apple could not make a new iPhone SE. Citing supply chain issues and lower sales of the midrange phone compared to iPhone Pro models, Kuo says Apple could choose to delay or simply not release a new iPhone SE this year.
The SE is a decent phone, but it’s clear that Apple’s breath-taking marketing of its flagship devices has stymied the budget model. Either that or people just prefer bigger phones these days. Since Apple ditched the iPhone Mini last year, it seems it’s moved on from smaller, more modest options.
Google Maps, where is that?
Hey, did you know you can use Google Maps while you’re driving? OK, yes, this is a core feature of Google’s GPS app, but now the company is introducing something different for select vehicles. Google allows car companies to implement it HD Maps software in their on-board navigation software. It’s not Google Maps per se, but it’s sort of a basic system that underlies the technology of the car. So far Volvo and Polestar have said they will use Google’s HD Map system.
We now live at CES
It’s impossible to keep typing this news roundup without making it to CES. WIRED attended the massive consumer tech event in person for the first time since 2020, and our reporters got to put all the weird and wacky technology on display in action.
Of this week Gadget lab podcast comes straight from the heart of CES. Our on-the-ground team gathered late at night in a Las Vegas hotel room to cut through the marketing gibberish and highlight what stood out at CES this year.