Apple mixed-reality headset to include iOS features: Everything you need to know

Apple’s upcoming mixed reality (MR) headset, with its impressive array of features, has already sparked speculation that the Cupertino giant is preparing to supplant the iPhone in the near future. But in order to replace such a massively popular product, the headset will have to appeal to more than just a niche audience.

While existing virtual reality and augmented reality headsets like the Meta Quest series have left their mark, they’re nowhere close to offering smartphone-level functionality because they lack the kind of apps and features that drove the iPhone’s popularity.

Likely taking that into consideration, Apple according to a Bloomberg report is racing to build a host of apps and services for the MR headset, in order to make it more appealing than its peers. We take a look at these below.

iPad apps on the MR headset

The Apple MR headset’s suite of apps and services will include gaming, fitness and collaboration tools, new versions of Apple’s existing iPad features, and services for watching sports, the report revealed citing people with knowledge of Apple’s plans.

Since using the MR headset will have a learning curve for users who’ve never had a go with it, Apple is adapting familiar iPad apps for the new headset. Users will be able to access millions of existing apps from third-party developers via the new 3D interface. The device’s operating system, xrOS, is based on iOS, making this possible.

Apple’s own suite of apps it ships with all iPhones and iPads including Safari, Calendar, Contacts, Files, Mail, Maps, Notes, and others, will also be present on the headset. They’ll look similar to what they look like on the iPad, but will be adapted to a VR interface.

Apple is also working on a version of Apple Books for the headset to allow users to read in virtual reality. A camera app will also be present, letting users take pictures from the headset. Additionally, the Fitness+ service will let users exercise while watching an instructor in VR.

An iPhone, but more immersive

Apple is developing a version of its Freeform collaboration app for the headset, which will let users work on virtual whiteboards together while in mixed reality. FaceTime has been given an MR twist too and will generate 3D versions of users in virtual meeting rooms, with the idea of making participants feel like they’re in the same room.

Viewing sports is also about to get a lot more immersive – Apple already acquired a company called NextVR back in 2020. Meanwhile, content on Apple TV will be watchable in different virtual environments such as a desert or the sky.

Lastly, a dedicated app for wellness will help wearers meditate with a series of calming graphics, sounds, and voiceovers.

Other features

A dial, similar to the Apple Watch’s digital crown, will let the wearer seamlessly switch between virtual and augmented reality. VR mode will be suitable for when the user is seated, while AR mode will help the user stay in touch with their surroundings when walking around with the headset on. Wearers will be able to operate the headset using eye and hand gestures – and, of course, Siri.

Multitasking will get a major boost, thanks to the ability to run multiple apps at the same time that will float around in the MR interface. The headset will also remember where you were using apps: if a user is watching Netflix in a particular room, the app will relaunch when they go into another room and return.

Handling authentication will be a biometric system that will scan the user’s eyes, taking the user to the xrOS home screen that will resemble the iPadOS’s upon an unlock.

When will the headset launch?

It’s important to stress here that Apple is yet to even acknowledge the existence of the headset, so the launch date remains uncertain. Some reports claimed it would be unveiled at the WWDC 2023 event, but a recent report by analyst Ming-Chi Kuo cast doubt on that. However, the Bloomberg report quoted in this article still maintains that June 5 is the expected day. We hope to get more clarity as the event approaches, despite the conflicting reports.


  • Adam Gray

    Adam Gray is an experienced journalist with a passion for breaking news and delivering it to the masses. With over a decade of experience in the field, he has covered everything from local stories to national events, earning a reputation for his accuracy, reliability, and attention to detail. As a reporter, Adam is always on the lookout for the next big story, and his dedication to uncovering the truth has earned him the respect of his peers and readers alike. When he's not chasing down leads, Adam can be found poring over the latest headlines, always on the lookout for the next big scoop. Contact [email protected]