Headset

AlwaysOnHeadphones can improve the call-taking experience on Apple Watch

Having an Apple Watch is convenient for a bevy of reasons, but one of my favorites is having instantaneous access to messages and phone calls from the comfort of my wrist, even when my iPhone isn’t within arm’s reach.

As wonderful as it is, it’s not without its quirks. Perhaps one of the most annoying processes has to do with how you would take Apple Watch-centric phone calls when you have a Bluetooth headset or headphones connected to your iPhone, and a newly released jailbreak tweak called AnswerOnHeadphones by iOS developer CardboardFace aims to fix this once and for all.

Affordable $99 Mira Prism headset brings augmented reality to iPhone

Why wait until 2018 or beyond for a rumored Apple headset when you can immerse yourself in augmented reality right now, and without breaking the bank? Meet Mira Prism, a new iPhone-connected headset that provides augmented reality experiences for just $99.

The product is standalone and requires no plugs, computers or wires.

You just side your iPhone into the headset to begin exploring the wonders of interactive holographic content. It should be mentioned that Mira Prism does not put your iPhone's screen right in front of your eyes, like Google's Cardboard does.

Instead, your iPhone faces the inside of the headset and the front glass lenses facing you basically reflect computer imagery projected onto their surface by a pair of mirrors. The accessory has a 60-degree field of view and supports a resolution of 1,334-by-750 pixels.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w76ESU3XHOg

While the headset only supports a small number of launch titles created specifically for it, they'll be releasing an SDK to let anyone create compatible augmented reality apps and games.

An accompanying app features spectator mode so those without a headset can see what others are seeing in augmented reality through the headset on their own iPhone or iPad.

Engadget took the gadget for a spin and came away impressed:

I played a holographic game that involved maneuvering a character through a maze, which relied on the controller’s motion controls.

Another game had me spinning around in my chair to destroy asteroids hovering all around me. I was particularly surprised how well Prism tracked virtual objects in augmented reality, even though it doesn’t have any spatial mapping technology like HoloLens and Meta.

Mira Prism ships with a remote control for motion-based games, a carrying case and a lens cover, and is compatible with any iPhone from iPhone 6s onward. The biggest drawback of Prism is the fact it won't work with any ARKit-optimized app, just stuff made specifically for it.

If you're interested in this product, pre-order it today for $99 from mirareality.com because it will retail for $150 once officially released in time for 2017 holiday.

Facebook to respond to Apple’s AR efforts with untethered $200 Oculus VR headset in 2018

Apple's new ARKit framework for building augmented reality experiences for compatible iPhone and iPad devices is off to a great start and already Facebook is taking notice, according to a new report Thursday from Bloomberg's Mark Gurman.

The author claims that Facebook has been hard at work developing an inexpensive headset, code-named “Pacific”, that is expected to bring virtual reality experiences to the masses without requiring a beefy computer or a compatible smartphone.

“The idea is that someone will be able to pull the headset out of their bag and watch movies on a flight just the way you can now with a phone or tablet,” reads the article.

It should be priced aggressively at $200 and release at some point next year, representing “an entirely new category”. According to people familiar with the plans, the device will provide a similar interface to Samsung’s VR Gear that users could control by a wireless remote.

The headset should be powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon mobile chip that would make it superior to Samsung's Gear VR headset in terms of gaming in virtual reality. Unlike the current Oculus Rift hardware, the upcoming gizmo won't include positional tracking technology.

An excerpt from the article:

This means that the device won’t be able to tell where its user is spatially, which is useful for tasks like virtual rock climbing. A future version of the product will have that technology, according to a person familiar with the plans.

According to sources, the headset will let users play immersive games, watch video, use social networking apps and so forth. It resembles a more compact version of the current Oculus Rift and will be lighter than Samsung’s Gear VR headset.

Handset maker Xiaomi and its manufacturers are said to build 2018's Oculus-branded device.

And later this year, Facebook allegedly plans to announce a more affordable wireless headset that it is betting will popularize virtual reality “the way Apple did the smartphone”.

Oculus spokesman Alan Cooper said via email:

We don’t have a product to unveil at this time, however we can confirm we’re making several significant technology investments in the standalone VR category.

Facebook's said it’s also working on yet another device, code-named “Santa Cruz” and best described as a wireless Oculus Rift “with the full power of the original device sans PC.“

Facebook acquired Kickstarter-funded Oculus startup in 2014 for about $2 billion.

IDC estimated that Samsung leads the pack in terms of VR device shipments with 22 percent of the global market for VR devices, followed by Sony, HTC and Facebook's Oculus Rift with about five percent of the market, or less than 100,000 units sold.