Open source software maker Elastic will soon make things quite difficult for AWS as the company is moving its source code from the Apache 2.0-license to the Server Side Public License (SSPL) and the Elastic License.
Elastic is known for its open source search and analytic engine Elasticsearch and its data visualization dashboard Kibana which are used in the cloud by Netflix, LinkedIn, Walmart and many other large companies.
While larger organizations will likely be affected by the licensing change, Elastic CEO Shay Banon explained in a blog post that the majority of its users won't be impacted, saying:
“This change in source code licensing has no impact on the overwhelming majority of our user community who use our default distribution for free. It also has no impact on our cloud customers or self-managed software customers.”
Source code licensing
Instead of having contracts with Elastic itself, many large corporations instead use Amazon Elasticsearch Service for analytics and application integration.
AWS isn't the only cloud computing provider that offers Elasticsearch though as the analtyics engine is also available on Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud. However, there is a big difference as both Microsoft and Google have a business relationship with Elastic while AWS does not.
In a more recent blog post, Banon explained that Elastic is changing how it licenses its source code in order to prevent AWS from offering its products as a service, saying:
“They have been doing things that we think are just NOT OK since 2015 and it has only gotten worse. If we don't stand up to them now, as a successful company and leader in the market, who will? Our license change is aimed at preventing companies from taking our Elasticsearch and Kibana products and providing them directly as a service without collaborating with us.”
In order for cloud providers to offer Elasticsearch services under the SSPL, they need to agree to open source their hosting cloud's infrastructure. While most AWS software is already open source, Amazon will likely never agree to open source all of it.
Businesses that use Elasticsearch and Kibana could soon see their cloud computing costs increase as a result of the licensing changes made by Elastic.
Xiaomi Mi Watch Lite could launch in India soon. The new wearable from Xiaomi has just bagged the Bureau of Indian Standards certification.
According to tipster Mukul Sharma, a new smartwatch with “REDMIWT02” was spotted on Indian BIS certification site. Although the model number corresponds to Xiaomi Mi Watch Lite which was announced back in December, the certification site reveals brand as Redmi. So, the Mi Watch Lite might launch in India as Redmi Watch.
But, in China, there is also a Redmi Watch which is sold separately. The major difference these two models comes in terms of GPS and number of sports mode supported.
Xiaomi Mi Watch Lite specs
(Image credit: Xiaomi)
The Xiaomi Mi Watch Lite offers a 1.4-inch LCD screen with 320 x 320 resolution. It’s a square display, unlike the Mi Watch that sported a circular display. You also get a single button on the side for navigation.
As for the fitness-centric features, the Mi Watch lite offers 11 different sports modes on offer. There support for multiple exercises such as Outdoor running, Treadmill, Outdoor Cycling, Indoor cycling, Freestyle, Walking, Trekking, Trail run, Pool swimming, Open water swimming, and Cricket. Being a budget smartwatch, the Mi Watch Lite also packs in a GPS, which is a welcome addition.
Further, there’s also sleep tracking, heart rate monitoring, step counting, activity reminders, weight-bearing exercises and, a counter that tells you how many times you stand up each day. As for the smart features, you get music controls, notifications, call handling, weather reports and more. Xiaomi has also added the ability to customize watch faces, with 120 faces to choose from.
Other features include 5ATm water resistance, 230mAh battery, up to 9 days of battery, emoji support, interchangeable straps. In the global market, the Xiaomi Mi Watch Lite is available in Pink, Ivory, Black, Navy blue, and Olive colour options.
For now, we've no idea when the watch will launch in India, but we're expecting to see the launch in the coming months as the company is gearing up to launch Redmi Note 10 followed by the Mi 11.
Xiaomi Mi Watch Lite price in India
In the global market, the Mi Watch Lite is priced €99 which is roughly Rs 8,800. Although the pricing is low when compared to the Mi Watch Revolve in India, we can expect aggressive pricing from the brand as always.
The Oppo Reno 5 Pro is the latest flagship phone from the brand which also introduces MediaTek Dimesnity 1000 Plus chipset. The Oppo Enco X on the other hand is the brand's most premium audio product till date. Both are now available on Flipkart.
The Oppo Reno 5 Pro is priced at Rs 35,990. You can avail Rs 1,000 off on HDFC Bank Credit Cards and Credit/Debit EMI and Rs 500 on Debit Card transaction. There is also an additional Rs 2,500 instant discount on HDFC credit card and credit and debit card EMI. And, lastly, you can also avail Rs 3,000 instant discount on HDFC debit card non-EMI transaction.
There are lot more bank offers like HDFC Bank, ICICI, Bank of Baroda, Federal Bank, Zest Money if you are purchasing from offline retail stores.
Oppo Reno 5 Pro specs
(Image credit: Oppo)
As pointed out earlier, the Oppo Reno 5 Pro s the first phone in India to be powered by a MediaTek Dimensity chipset. It is powered by Dimensity 1000 Plus SoC which is an eight-core chipset built on 7nm process. It also supports dual SIM 5G with theoretical download speeds of 4.7Gbps. The device is available in sole 8GB + 128GB variant in India.
To the front, you get a curved 6.5-inch Super AMOLED 90Hz screen with a Full HD+ resolution. The Oppo Reno 5 Pro is just 7.6mm thick and 173 grams in weight and manages to pack in 4,350mAh battery. It also supports 65W Super VOOC charging. There's also an in-display fingerprint reader.
As for the optics, the Oppo Reno 5 Pro sports a quad-camera array on the back consists of a 64MP primary sensor, an 8MP ultra-wide shooter, a 2MP macro lens and a mono camera. On the front is a 32MP selfie shooter. Out of the box, the phone runs on ColorOS 11.1, built atop Android 11.
The Oppo Enoc X is priced at Rs 9,990 in India and comes in Black or White colour option. You can avail 10% off with HDFC band cards. Also, Oppo is bundling offer of Rs 1,000 available for Enco X when you also purchase the Reno 5 Pro.
Oppo Enco X features
(Image credit: Srivatsa Ramesh)
The key feature of the Oppo Enco X earbuds is the presence of active noise cancellation. On the inside, the Oppo Enco X has a dual-driver design. Oppo's proprietary DBEE 3.0 sound system. There is an 11mm dynamic driver and a secondary 6mm balanced membrane driver. The Oppo Enco X comes with two levels of ANC - Max ANC and ANC (regular ANC). The ANC mode is suitable for low noise environments such as your room while the max ANC is useful and effective in outdoors, office, etc.
The Oppo Enco X harnesses Bluetooth 5.2 and offers support for LHDC, SBC, and AAC codecs. LHDC (Low Latency High-Definition Audio) is a Bluetooth codec that is made for Hi-Res audio streaming. LHDC has a higher bit rate transmission compared to the SBC and AAC codecs. The Oppo Enco X supports multiple gestures and also comes with Hey Melody companion app for Android.
In terms of battery life, the Oppo Enco X can last up to 4 hours on a single charge with max ANC turned on and volume set at 50%. With ANC turned off, the buds are rated to last about 5.5 hours. With the charging case, the total tally goes up to 20 hours and 25 hours.
Nvidia's cloud gaming platform, GeForce Now, is officially coming "soon" to Australia (as well as Turkey and Saudi Arabia), according to the gaming company's blog post published today.
The company announced that it's bringing Western-Australian ISP Pentanet into its GeForce Now Alliance fold, which will be the first ISP in Australia to host Nvidia's RTX servers – the systems that power the game streaming service.
The catch? Pentanet only technically services Western Australia, offering fixed-wireless and fibre services to the Perth metro and regional areas of the state. We’ve reached out to Nvidia for clarification, but based on the location of this ISP, we’re assuming Aussies will need to live on the west coast for an optimal streaming experience.
Nvidia's hinted that there may be other Australian ISPs coming on board this year, with its closing statement offering a bit of hope for anyone living in the eastern half of the country: "Stay tuned as we work with additional partners to bring cloud gaming to new regions throughout 2021 and beyond."
Nvidia's GeForce Now is a cloud gaming service that's well-regarded across the territories where it's available. It allows gamers with fast enough internet connections will be able to stream the latest games directly to a mobile device, TV, or laptop without the need for a high-end graphics processor in the device to render the game.
This is because all the powerful hardware (such as the latest Nvidia RTX graphics cards) are housed at dedicated local server locations. The games are run from these server sites, receiving input information from the remote device being used for playback, with the games' visual and audio information streamed and responding in real time.
With the NBN effectively complete and the 5G roll out picking up steam, services like GeForce Now are finally becoming viable in Australia, as they require incredibly low latency for the aforementioned back-and-forth process to work seamlessly.
The big three Aussie telcos (Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone) all have their own 5G networks in various stages of rollout; at present, they're largely centralised around the major cities, with regional coverage comparatively patchy.
For gamers that don't necessarily want to upgrade their PC with the latest (and often incredibly expensive) gaming hardware, paying a nominal subscription fee to a service like Nvidia's is becoming an increasingly attractive option.
Apple's AR glasses have been a source of speculation for years, with patents dating back to 2015 and 2017 detailing AR-related software and hardware. But it wasn't until 2019 that it felt like Apple's highly-anticipated AR eyewear project would really happen as the rumor mill released more and more early information.
There was an outside chance that we could see the Apple Glasses during this year's WWDC 2021, though rumors have indicated we're still far from seeing a product released.
Industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo initially said manufacturing of the AR specs would get underway at the end of 2019 or the start of 2020, according to money.udn.com, noting they would be reliant on a connected iPhone to do a lot of processing and connectivity. By mid-2020, a research note from Kuo surfaced that pushed back an estimated release date until 2022.
That said, another source has said that while they might not go on sale until then, they could be announced at an event in March 2021. The source added that they will apparently be called Apple Glass.
AR-enabled iGlasses have been swaddled in mystery given how little info has come out, and news even broke that Apple had scrapped its plan for AR glasses altogether. A report from Digitimes stated that supply chain sources had confirmed Apple disbanded its AR team. But a new patent appeared in late 2019 that reignited the potential of their existence.
Other sources meanwhile have said they're still coming but have been delayed by years, with an AR headset apparently landing in either 2021 or 2022, followed by AR glasses in 2023. The most recent rumor even suggested that Apple will release a pricey VR-focused headset first, potentially in 2022, with the AR-focused headset we presume to be the Apple Glasses following by 2023 at the earliest.
So there's a lot of confusion and debate around when or even if we'll get Apple glasses, but the latest leaks suggest they might be announced before too long, but won't hit stores until a lot later.
While you try and get your head around all that, let's take a look at all the Apple glasses leaks and rumors, as well as Apple's augmented reality background and why AR specs seemed like the next big move for the tech giant.
What is it? A new Apple wearable, a pair of glasses using augmented reality tech
When is it out? May be announced in 2020, but would hit stores later
What will it cost? A source suggests $499 (roughly £410 / AU$765)
What will Apple AR glasses cost?
That’s a tough question, as there’s no real precedent for this sort of thing yet. The only rumor on that subject so far claims $499 (roughly £410 / AU$765) - not including any prescription charges.
Apple AR glasses hardware: the evidence, the patents and the specs
The biggest leak on that front has detailed a lot of things. According to Jon Prosser (a reliable leaker), the Apple Glasses will be called Apple Glass and will be capable of displaying information on both lenses, with a user controlling them via gestures both on and in front of the frames.
All the processing would apparently be handled by a connected iPhone, and Apple Glass supposedly wouldn't have conventional cameras but would have a LiDAR scanner to power AR experiences.
Other details from the source include that there apparently won't be a sunglasses version, as the display doesn't work with tinted lenses, that observers won't be able to tell the lenses are displaying anything, and that the frame - at least in a prototype - is made from plastic.
The same source also said that Apple is experimenting with a special Steve Jobs Edition version of the glasses. That would act like an Apple Watch Edition where the company sells a certain style of its product for a higher price.
Another source for Apple leaks - Mark Gurman at Bloomberg - has also said the previous information isn't correct though, so take all of this with a big pinch of salt. A later report from him cites sources claiming the AR glasses are still in very early development and won't come out until at least 2023, but will be preceded by an Apple VR headset that could come in 2022.
Beyond that, Apple has been busy picking up companies with an interest in AR, which suggests it's prepping a product of its own – and recently Cook said that Apple had several new products in the pipeline that could "blow you away".
We've also seen a bunch of Apple patents appear recently, explaining how specially-designed lenses could be used to cast images on a user's eye, and how a touchscreen surface (like an iPhone or an iPad) could be used as a controller.
One patent points to glasses with adjustable opacity, which might help add focus to a video, for example, or aid visibility on a particularly bright day.
A glimpse at digital items placed in the real world
Apple also filed a patent for a catadioptric optical system – a series of lenses designed to project images into a user’s eyes – in early February this year.
In fact, Apple has been granted 53 patents, covering its AR wearable, 3D mapping technology, and a more intelligent iPhone Home screen, amongst others, as discovered by Patently Apple.
Perhaps most telling of all is a leaked injury report out of Apple’s Cupertino headquarters, which suggests Apple is working on a “prototype unit” which has resulted in eye injuries for two users.
Apple has also made a number of key AR talent hires over the years. According to a report from Bloomberg, Apple has poached a leading employee of Nasa for the project, hiring Jeff Norris, founder of the Mission Operations Innovation Office of Nasa's Jet Propulsion Lab.
He is said to be working as part of an augmented reality team being headed up by another poached talent, Dolby Labs executive Mike Rockwell.
That team is apparently 1,000 people strong, and the AR glasses they're working on are said to have a high-resolution display, cameras, 3D scanning, and "advanced human detection". They're also apparently working on an AR headset, which could launch first with a design like the Oculus Quest, but a lightweight, comfortable build.
In May 2020, Apple confirmed it had acquired NextVR, a startup that produced virtual reality content from the likes of the NBA and Fox Sports. While it's unclear how this could impact the Apple AR Glasses, it's logical the startup's expertise will contribute to product design in some way.
While the glasses weren't announced during the iPhone 12 launch in October 2020 as was rumored, we did hear a rumor from display expert Ross Young that they'd use Sony half-inch microOLED displays with 1280 x 960 resolution, combining for a pixels-per-inch (ppi) density over 3000.
I should clarify that this is AR only. It will use projection optics inside the glasses.October 22, 2020
Microsoft HoloLens. Image Credit: TechRadar. (Image credit: Future) What is augmented reality?
You're familiar with the concept of virtual reality, right? Popping on a headset and having software transport you to an interactive, 360-degree, left, right, up, down, all-encompassing virtual world?
Augmented reality works a bit like that but with one big difference. Rather than giving a window into an invented world, it uses either screens or transparent lenses to place digital items on top of the real world around you.
Pokémon Go makes the pocket monster appear in your world using AR
The most popular example of this in action would be the lenses and filters available on Instagram and Snapchat – the ones that make it look like you have a squashed face, a dog's tongue or hearts coming out of your eyeballs.
Another great example of well-executed and mainstream AR is Pokémon Go which puts Pikachu and co into your world through a combination of your phone’s camera and screen.
Both see your real world 'augmented' by software on your smart device. Essentially, AR lets you get context sensitive digital information overlaid onto your real world surroundings – look at a subway station and get train times automatically displayed, for instance, or walk down the aisles of a food store and have the specs recommend a recipe. The applications could be exciting and used for games and entertainment or just extremely boring and extremely practical.
Augmented reality could also get a significant boost thanks to the advent of 5G. In fact, many believe 5G could prove instrumental to augmented reality finally hitting the mainstream – at least for those in the UK.
First launched back in 2017, ARKit was Apple's way of sticking its flag down into the augmented reality landscape, an attempt to claim the space as its own.
An AR app running on an iPad
First revealed at WWDC 2017, ARKit is a new set of APIs to let developers build augmented reality applications for Apple devices. They can now create apps that use the cameras, processors and sensors in your iPhone or iPad and use this information to overlay virtual objects onto the real world.
It's now in its third version, with the latest iteration arriving with iOS 13 in September 2019.
Users don't necessarily know that an app has been created with ARKit – there's no label – but they'll see a fun, AR experience. For example, the IKEA app allows you to hold up your iPhone and 'preview' how furniture will look.
Apple ARKit is already bringing augmented reality to the forefront of consumer technology – but it's just a platform. It's long been suggested that the real future of Apple’s augmented reality road map would be AR glasses.
After all, Apple’s in need of a new product category. The last time the tech giant launched an inarguably successful new product line was the iPad – and even that has proved difficult to maintain momentum in.
AR is an exciting new area, and one in which Apple (at least in hardware terms) wouldn’t have much competition in, at least in the present with a mainstream and consumer focus.
Apple boss Tim Cook sees great potential in augmented reality. Image Credit: Apple.
Right now, there are a number of augmented reality glasses already on the market from companies like Vuzix, Epson and Vue. But many of them are reserved for enterprise use (in big businesses), are being used by developers or have been built for a rather niche purpose.
There are also mixed reality headsets, like the Microsoft Hololens 2, which sits somewhere between VR and AR. As well as one of the most exciting AR headsets, the Magic Leap One.
The main difference between these devices and the promise of AR glasses made so infamous by Google Glass, is AR glasses were tipped to be smaller, slimmer and could easily be mistaken for regular glasses. The Magic Leap One is an extraordinary piece of kit, but not exactly what Apple would have in store with AR specs.
There could also be mounting competition from other big tech giants. For example, in July, details were leaked about a patent, which suggests Samsung might be working on its own pair of AR specs.
Spotted by Patently Apple, the filing shows a fairly standard design for a pair of glasses with added smarts on board. They're going to be foldable, apparently, so you can pop them in your pocket when you're not being wowed by AR.
What's more, according to a patent filed by Huawei at the World Intellectual Property Organization (and spotted by LetsGoDigital), the company is experimenting with a pair of AR glasses that are lightweight but only work when you insert your smartwatch into them.
According to a 2017 patent, Facebook's AR glasses could use a ‘waveguide display' to combine computer graphics with the real world – essentially an advanced method of giving the illusion of depth on specs right in front of your face.
Based on the patent images, the AR glasses could look just like a regular pair of glasses, which means there will be lot of complex, miniaturized technology to get right before they can be released.
This means Apple may not be releasing its own AR glasses anytime soon, but its competitors might be just a year or two away.
Of course we can't talk about AR specs without mentioning the legacy of Google Glass. These advanced smart glasses were tipped to change everything, from tech to the way we live, by overlaying layers of information onto the real world. But thanks to public perception, financial problems and design challenges they never fully materialised – apart from for a small number of developers and testers.
Well, at least not how they were meant to. Google Glass is still around, but exists as the Glass Enterprise Edition aimed at business use.
Although the troubled story of Google Glass may sound like a bit of a failure (at least when it comes to consumer traction), it actually taught tech companies a great deal about building AR, tech-enabled eyewear and the challenges of bringing a whole new product category to market.
If you've ever wondered how Google is able to provide search results so quickly then you may want to listen to the company's latest Search Off the Record podcast.
In the most recent episode of the podcast, the search giant's Gary Illyes revealed that the company's search index uses a tiered system where more expensive storage is used to index the most popular content faster.
According to Illyes, Google indexes content using three different types of storage. RAM is the fastest and most expensive storage type used by the company followed by solid state drives (SSDs) which are fast but cost prohibitive and hard disk drives (HDDs) as they are the slowest and least costly.
“So for example, for documents that we know that might be surfaced every second, for example, they will end up on something super fast. And the super fast would be the RAM. Like part of our serving index is on RAM. Then we’ll have another tier, for example, for solid state drives because they are fast and not as expensive as RAM. But still not– the bulk of the index wouldn’t be on that. The bulk of the index would be on something that’s cheap, accessible, easily replaceable, and doesn’t break the bank. And that would be hard drives or floppy disks.”
Now that we know a bit more about how Google builds its search index, some site owners may be considering trying to improve the SEO of their pages so that they are indexed on RAM or SSDs to appear higher in the company's search results. Unfortunately though, there is now way to tell which storage tier individual sites are indexed on.
While Google is now storing content that is accessed every second on either RAM or SSDs, a majority of its search index is still stored on HDDs. However, this could change in the future as these more expensive storage types come down in price.
The Resident Evil series, known for its surprises, got the drop on players with a new PS5 demo that became available during Capcom’s Resident Evil Village showcase that gave us our first look at RE8's gameplay.
The demo, Capcom says, won’t have much in the way of combat or blocking, but will instead introduce you to the spooky environments you’ll be traversing when the game comes on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, PC, Xbox One and Xbox Series X on May 7 2021.
Capcom didn’t divulge all the details of the demo but did say that, rather than playing as Resident Evil 7’s protagonist Ethan Winters for the demo, you’ll play as a character called The Maiden, as they attempt to escape one of the game’s settings, the castle. Think of it like an experiential short story set in Resident Evil: Village’s world with hints and Easter Eggs about the main game, according to a PlayStation blog post – which also revealed the demo supports ray tracing and 3D Audio.
Don’t worry – there’s a bigger demo coming in Spring (Q2 2020) that will almost surely showcase all the mechanics we’ve seen today, and maybe introduce some characters and environments revealed in today’s showcase.
CES 2021: all the best gadgets, TVs, devices, and robots a the online-only tech show
(Image credit: Capcom) Resident Evil Village borrows heavily from fan-favorite RE4
One of the most striking and memorable parts of Resident Evil Village’s gameplay and setting is just how much it reminds us of Resident Evil 4, widely regarded as one of the franchise’s best games.
Unlike other entries in the franchise, there aren’t any zombies, and instead brings in Grimm fairytale creatures. RE8 will reintroduce the Tetris-based inventory management system of RE4 with green herbs in tow, and a weapons vendor named The Duke will fill the role of The Merchant.
You can see more in the game’s latest trailer:
Resident Evil: Village’s spooky village and baroque castle environments also hearken back to similar scenes in RE4, though instead of a decrepit Napoleon, players will face off against the towering dame in white, revealed to be named Lady Dimitrescu, and her daughters, who will hunt Ethan inside the intriguingly-named Dimitrescu Castle.
Capcom says the game will have a slew of collectibles to encourage you to wade into the deepest and darkest parts of the village, similar to the ones found in RE2.
(Image credit: Capcom) Celebrating 25 years of jump scares
Resident Evil Village will release two months after the franchise’s 25th anniversary, recognizing the first game's release in March 1996 on the Sony PlayStation.
Alongside RE8, Capcom says it will also release a spin-off game, Resident Evil Re:Verse, with an online competitive multiplayer component.
According to the game’s website, matches will be four to six-person deathmatch battles and, when your character is taken out, you’ll transform into a powerful bioweapon that can be used against other players.
In the promo art for the game, we can see franchise staples like Leon Kennedy, Ada Wong and Claire Redfield, as well as The Nemesis which could be the aforementioned bioweapon that you’ll take control of when you’re out of the match.
So far there’s no release date set for Resident Evil Re:Verse outside of a generic ‘2021’ release window, but it’s one we’ll keep our eyes on as we get closer to Resident Evil Village’s May release date.
And for fans of The Division 2, players will soon get access to outfits and weapon skins to look like iconic characters from the series – Jill's beret, Leon's weird cop body armor, and HUNK's special ops outfits, to name a few. The in-game extras are coming in a crossover event happening in February.
Welcome to our pick of the best 3D printers money can buy. On this page, you'll find the best devices for 3D printing, for both home and commercial use.
That means we've packed this list of the best 3D printers with devices of all shapes and for all budgets. So, you've got the best 3D printers that can fit on a desk or table, and are ideal for home use for hobbyists and beginners who are just getting started.
We've also got the best 3D printers for enterprise and commercial uses. These 3D printers can handle large volumes, while keeping quality to the highest possible level.
You'll find the best 3D printers for a wide range of budgets, from affordable 3D printers, to high-end 3D printers that may have high price tags, but offer unrivalled quality.
It's important to note that because the devices in our best 3D printers list are all so diverse - and are aimed at different use cases - we've not listed them in any particular order.
So, read our roundup carefully to see which 3D printer is best for your needs. No one wants to spend all their time researching all the best 3D printers – not to mention spending a ton of cash – so our list of the best 3D printers contains clear and concise information on all kinds of 3D printers, so you can find the best 3D printer no matter what your needs are.
Make your dreams come true
If you are looking to have a 3d printer for the first time then the list of choices can be daunting. Hopefully, this list has given you a lot of ideas where you can start and the Ender 3 Pro from Creality is likely your best bet. The community at large loves this machine and you will always have a massive support community if you buy one.
If you are looking to get into resin 3d printing for miniatures or detailed sculptures then the combination of the Elegoo Mars 2 and the Elegoo Mercury won't steer you wrong. It's the perfect set up to start you off the right way.
Apple’s first headset may be a more expensive product aimed at enthusiasts, with a more ambitious product following at some point, according to a new Bloomberg report. The smart wear in question could be more VR than AR, though, so whether it matches previous rumors about the so-called Apple Glasses is unclear.
The rumored first headset, which is allegedly codenamed N301 and in a late prototype phase, will focus more on VR with some limited AR capability, and Apple plans to launch it as soon as 2022, sources told Bloomberg. Given that it’s expected to compete against VR-only Oculus, HTC, and PlayStation VR headsets, we aren’t sure how much augmented reality function Apple’s first headset will have.
But the sources do indicate the initial Apple headset will be far pricier than those VR devices – but rather than come right out with an exact price tag, Bloomberg’s intel suggests the company will use its retail exclusivity to its advantage. Whatever the final cost ends up being, even if Apple could sell one headset per day in its retail stores, given there are around 500 brick and mortar locations, napkin math suggests unit sales of under 200,000 headsets per year.
While that’s thin info and subject to speculation – with just sales expectations to go on, Bloomberg theorized the Apple headset could cost on par with the $5,999 (about £5,499, AU$9,999) iMac Pro – that does suggest the product will be aimed at niche users. Like the initial round of Google Glass, only enthusiasts may need apply.
CES 2021: all the best gadgets, TVs, devices, and robots a the online-only tech show
The first Apple headset may pack hardware to justify its price: Apple plans to fill it with some of its most advanced and powerful silicon, with some chips beating out the M1 processors rolling out in the Mac and MacBook lines. The VR-displaying screens are alleged to be higher-resolution than those in competing VR goggles, and the headset may also pack a discrete fan, sources told Bloomberg, which is interesting given the company’s tendency to design moving fans out of their hardware for slimmer product profiles.
The report describes Apple’s N301 as still in development and far from a final design: the necessity of the fan led to a bulkier prototype threatening neck strain, leading designers to shrink the headset until eyeglasses couldn’t fit and instead develop a system to insert prescription lenses over the VR screens.
To save weight, the headset might use a fabric exterior, unlike the metal designs of recent products like the AirPods Pro. Some of the prototypes are allegedly similar size to the standalone Oculus Quest, with external cameras for AR features as well as hand tracking, potentially for features like in-air typing.
The device seems to be too early in development to guess at a release date, though Apple’s alleged plans to release in 2022 suggest we could hear more about the VR headset N301 as the year progresses. It could still be delayed – the report noted Covid has slowed down progress by limiting engineers’ time in Apple’s notoriously secretive labs – or cancelled outright, as the report suggests the company believes the AR glasses, codenamed N421, are a far more mainstream-appealing product that is planned to be released in 2023.
N421 could be the Apple Glasses we’ve been hearing about for years, but we’ll have to wait until we hear more info distinguishing both devices for a clearer idea of which is coming first – and which will make the Apple-style splash to redefine their product niche.