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    mixed reality headset

    Apple’s Entry Into Headset Gaming: All We Know About the Upcoming Mixed Reality Headset

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    Shantanu Dec 4, 2021

    I’ll be honest. I am an Xbox boy through and through. It’s typical for me to spend long nights in binge FIFA sessions, with a crackling packet of chips and a Coke-gone-flat to keep me company. Gaming for me always meant a dark room, a TV, and a controller. Call of Duty has always been more important than Duty Calls, and Fortnite better than SleepatNight.

    I don’t really know why I have been super wary of headset gaming. Maybe because many call it a Playstation/Xbox killer? I can best explain my predicament by the way a legacy stock investor approaches the volatile world of cryptocurrency. (Golly Smasherolli! I just understood in this crazy mess of a thing and you dump a whole new ball game at me?)

    But Mixed Reality Headsets Are the Future

    Lately, however, I’ve realised that my hesitation might be misplaced. Mixed Reality headsets are awesome! They are undoubtedly the future of all gaming and entertainment. They are also the future of education, design, automation, engineering, architecture, interior design… the list is truly endless.

    Mixed Reality headsets are a confluence of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality. This basically means that you have the option to enjoy artificial digital environments (VR) or see virtual objects in your real one (AR). This doesn’t always pan out like that, but more on that later.

    Is Apple Releasing a Mixed Reality Headset in 2022?

    Apple has not forayed into the world of gaming or gaming headsets yet, which is surprising considering their clean forays into the world of a specialised dust and dirt mop. However, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman believes that Apple’s Mixed Reality headset might come out in the second half of 2022.

    In his weekly Power On newsletter, Gurman writes,  “Apple is planning to unleash its own pricey device with advanced chips, displays, sensor, and avatar-based features.” He believes the headset will focus on three areas: gaming, media, and communication.

    Apple might try to tap into the niche market of dedicated tech enthusiasts. The Cupertino giant could position the headset the way Microsoft did Hololens 2. On the other hand, Apple also holds several patents for Mixed Reality glasses. What doesn’t come as a surprise, though — and the English language has not enough figures of speech to convey the seriousness of this — is that the price point of Apple’s headset is expected to be higher than existing competition.

    What can also be seen as a statement of intent is that in May last year, Apple acquired NextVR, a Virtual Reality company that has deals with NBA, Fox Sports, Wimbledon, and a few live music events broadcasted on existing headsets such as Playstation, Microsoft, HTC, and more.

    Can Apple Do It Better Than Meta and Microsoft?

    Facebook (now Meta)’s Oculus series has proven to be a real hit, particularly the Quest 2 which has been touted as the epitome of high-quality VR. In an anti-Applesque move, Facebook (now Meta, I know you know) slashed the price of their headset by a hundred dollars while improving overall gameplay and comfort. Also expected is Meta’s Cambria headset that promises to be a real beauty with its leaked 3D renditions.

    A constant criticism plaguing most headsets today is that they promise a Mixed Reality experience but mostly deliver either Augmented or Virtual and almost never both. This is especially true for Microsoft’s $3,500 Hololens 2, which ended up confusing customers by saying Mixed and delivering Augmented, though it is an exceptional product otherwise.

    If Apple manages to overcome the hardware struggle and produces a headset that is truly a mix of Virtual and Augmented Reality, they can be sure of doing well even with an absurdly-priced product. (Sold out Apple Cloth testifies.)

    My Xbox does feel battered from years of mishandling, constant use, and general wear. If Apple’s Mixed Reality headset checks all the boxes upon its release, I will happily set aside my inhibitions and actually consider becoming a customer. Fiscal, mercantile, and personal budgetary constraints permitting, of course!

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