Latest Apple VR headset leak gives us clues about how it might get used

A render of the rumored Apple Reality Pro headset on a grey background
The Apple VR headset could look a little bit like this concept (Image credit: Ian Zelbo)

All the rumors are pointing towards a big reveal for the Apple VR headset this coming Monday, after years of speculation, and the latest leak to come our way gives us some idea of the ways that the device is going to be put to use.

As per Bloomberg (via 9to5Mac) – usually a reliable source of information when it comes to Apple – a dedicated demo area for the headset is being put together at Apple Park, the company headquarters in Cupertino, California.

Apparently, demonstrations are going to be given to members of the press after the WWDC 2023 keynote on June 5, with more hands-on sessions lined up in the months ahead. The headset isn't expected to go on sale until late 2023 or early 2024.

Reasons to VR

According to Bloomberg, the demos are going to focus on "immersive" FaceTime calls in virtual reality, as well as games and Apple TV Plus content. In other words, the device will add a VR element to some of the key apps Apple already has.

This follows the lead set by existing headsets such as the Meta Quest 3, which are used extensively for playing dedicated VR games, for watching video content in a virtual environment, and for keeping in touch with other people.

Remember that we'll also be hearing all about iOS 17 at next week's event, together with updates on all of Apple's other software platforms. No doubt integration with the new VR headset is going to be mentioned many times over.

Analysis: All about the apps

The story goes that it was spreadsheets that were the killer app for personal computers – that is, the piece of software that arrived to make the accompanying hardware worth the investment. As it stands, you could argue that VR is still waiting for its killer app.

What we've seen so far are a lot of avatars wandering around in virtual worlds, having meetings and watching movies and generally using the same sort of apps as normal but with a VR layer on top. It looks as though the Apple VR headset is going to follow that lead, using existing apps like FaceTime and Apple TV rather than introducing many new ones.

It's slightly different with games, helped by headsets such as the Sony PSVR 2. We have seen plenty of genuinely innovative, dedicated VR games, even though we've yet to see a stand-out one that compels people to pick up the hardware in droves. It's possible that Apple Arcade will soon offer a dedicated selection of VR games.

What's certain is that Apple already has an army of developers created apps for the iPhone, as well as its own in-house apps – and the sort of app support we see for the Apple VR headset is going to be crucial to its long-term success.

David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.