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Apple’s AR headset tipped to feature game-changing 3D hand tracking

Latest rumours are the juciest yet

An Apple logo against a render of a scenic background

Apple’s heavily hyped AR headset will take inspiration from the Cupertino-based firm’s popular Face ID feature, if a new research note from respected Apple analyst Ming-chi Kuo is to be believed.

As first reported by MacRumors, the Apple AR/MR headset will deploy four 3D sensors to power advanced hand tracking, all of which are rumoured to be more advanced than the single unit incorporated into the iPhone’s TrueDepth camera system for Face ID.

The aim, according to Kuo, is to make the Apple headset capable of detecting not only objects but also “micro gestures” and “dynamic detail change” of the hand, similar to how Face ID picks up on your facial expressions and turns them in to Animoji.

The result will be a “more intuitive and vivid human-machine UI” compared to other commercially available products, according to the pundit. To illustrate his point, Kuo gives the example of an Apple mixed reality headset user seeing a balloon fly out of their hand once the 3D sensors detect that their fist is no longer closed.

He goes as far as to speculate that the Apple AR headset will be able to detect objects from as much as 200 percent further away than the iPhone and Face ID, adding that he expects the first version of the device to be launched in 2022 and weigh between 300-400 grams – roughly the same as a tin of baked beans or chopped tomatoes.

A second, lighter model will follow in 2024, Kuo predicts, with other improvements including better battery life and a faster processor. This more refined version would be the one designed for mass market appeal, it seems, with the first iteration looking more like a release aimed at early adopters.