We already talked about the best VR headsets of last year (touching on the HTC Vive Cosmos and Valve Index’s impressive collaboration with Half Life: Alyx), as well as the VR headsets coming in 2020. Since 2019 was the year for new headsets, we, along with the rest of the VR world, expected 2020 to be quieter, more uneventful in terms of innovations.
We can admit that we were wrong.
Whether it is because companies love to surprise their consumers with new gadgets or because the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated production for devices that aid social distancing and self-isolation, one thing is for sure – there are a few unexpected VR twists in 2020.
Oculus Leaks New 2020 VR Headset
Just last month, Twitter was alight with what seemed like a leaked image of a new Oculus Quest. The bird-app user who originally posted it, WalkingCat, is known for providing the public with credible leaks, and so far we have no reason to believe this updated version of the Quest isn’t on the way.
Compared to its predecessor that was pretty front-heavy, the new design is slimmer and more elegant, with a white body and a black face mask. Missing from the side straps is the adjuster – possibly replaced by an adjuster in the back which we cannot see. The IPD slider also seems to be gone, meaning that those with wide- or close-set eyes will have trouble with the focus. The leaked image includes a pair of Oculus Touch controllers, also done in white plastic, that appear to sport no significant changes.
Other than what we can glean from the picture, we don’t know much else about this new 2020 VR headset. We don’t know anything about its specifications or price point, but we do expect to see it released some time later in 2020. Possibly in time for the Oculus Connect conference.
Oculus for Business
While the standard Oculus Quest is a great option for VR games and other forms of entertainment, it may not be the best choice for businesses looking to get more out of their VR headsets. Facebook finally rolled out its Oculus for Business program that includes a business version of the Quest for double the price of the original one.
The business Quest is optimized for training, remote collaboration (invaluable in a pandemic), and data visualization. It comes with special licenses, software, and enterprise support.
The interface inside the business Quest is different, and the software it comes with allows an IT company to manage several Oculus Quests in their possession. This powerful software can configure the headsets, update and install their apps, manage settings, and check their status. With access to Oculus for Business and their ISV program, companies can even find an existing application that will suit their business, or a provider to make custom software just for them.
Something Apple This Way Comes
If we take a look at Apple’s patent filings, it is evident that the company has been working on both VR and AR for over a decade. They have been exploring headsets, glasses, and even special VR technology that can be used in cars. But do they have anything in store? Anything that’s coming in hot?
The truth is, we don’t know yet. A rumor has been going around that Apple is hard at work developing a serious headset that will blow all others out of the water. It has a code name of T288, is supposed to be an 8K headset, and it should be released sometime this year. Some have speculated that it was supposed to be out in 2019, but that obviously didn’t happen. All we can do now is wait and see.
In conjunction with a VR headset, Apple is also allegedly working on ‘smart glasses’, a set of AR glasses that would primarily be an additional display for the iPhone. Just like with a VR headset, we’re not sure of the exact specs of these glasses, when they’re supposed to be released, and what exactly the public would be able to do with them.
VR Headsets in 2020
So it may not be as event-filled as 2019, but don’t write 2020 off completely just yet. (At least not when it comes to upcoming VR headsets.) Oculus has a few things lined up that are exciting, and we’re sure that the entire world is holding its breath for Apple’s 2020 VR headsets, whenever they do happen.
One thing is for sure, virtual and augmented reality are not going anywhere any time soon. We will definitely have a lot more to anticipate in the upcoming months, as a much-needed distraction from the real world.