(Photo: Concept by Antonio DeRosa)It’s been previously reported that Apple has been working on a mixed reality device for over seven years now. Incredibly, we still have no firm launch plans or any definitive details about the mysterious device. However, recent trademark filings by law firms allegedly associated with Apple give us a clue about possible naming conventions.
Previously it had been reported Apple was working on an operating system for the clandestine headset named Reality OS (rOS). As it turns out, the rest of the device’s parts might have similar branding. Trademark applications have been filed in various countries for the names Reality One, Reality Pro, and Reality Processor, Bloomberg reports. This seems to indicate two models for Apple’s upcoming headset; the base model One and a Pro version. Whatever custom silicon it puts inside will inevitably be labeled a Reality processor. Because TSMC hasn’t spun up its 3nm fab just yet, it’ll likely be a 5nm part that’s based on the M2 design. It will reportedly include 16GB of memory and a second chip to handle graphics.
The applications were filed in the US, EU, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Costa Rica, and Uruguay and have yet to be approved. Bloomberg notes the filings were submitted via a variety of shell corporations instead of by Apple. A company named Immersive Health Solutions LLC, which was incorporated in February, made the filings. That company is owned by another shell corporation named Corporation Trust Co. That second shell company also filed for the RealityOS trademark previously. Apple also used a variety of law firms to submit the applications through these shell companies. Though the filings were uncovered by the media, it seems Apple was likely trying to hide them from public view. Bloomberg notes Apple has used this byzantine process in the past to secure product names well in advance of launches.
One possible route Apple could take with its headset is to announce it at its hardware-focused event in October. Though Apple hasn’t announced this event yet, it’s usually an annual occurrence. That would allow it to steal some of Meta’s thunder, as that company is likely launching its high-end Project Cambria headset at that time. Apple and Meta are expected to seriously clash as the two compete in the upper echelons of the Virtual Reality (VR), and Augmented Reality (AR) markets for the first time. The “clash” concerns which approach to a metaverse will ultimately gain favor with the masses. On one side will be Apple’s “walled garden” competing with Meta’s “open standard.” It’s also unclear if Apple will even offer a “metaverse” for its customers.
In the end, the clash also may never happen, as Apple’s headset is rumored to be priced at around $2,000. If that happens, it’ll likely only appeal to the Apple diehards. Sony will also be launching an all-new VR kit for the Playstation 5 in 2023 too, which will likely compete at some level with Apple and Meta’s offerings. This just sets the stage for what appears to be a serious escalation in the formerly nascent VR wars. Meta might just get some serious competition for the first time in a category it has long dominated. Whether you care about VR or not, a lot of smart people think it’s the “next big thing” in computing along with the web and the smartphone. It’ll be interesting to see which company comes out on top once the virtual smoke clears.