Apple's AR headset will have Wi-Fi 6E, arrive in 2022, report says

The 2022 battle for the wearable future is starting to take shape.

Eli Blumenthal Senior Editor
Eli Blumenthal is a senior editor at CNET with a particular focus on covering the latest in the ever-changing worlds of telecom, streaming and sports. He previously worked as a technology reporter at USA Today.
Expertise 5G | Mobile networks | Wireless carriers | Phones | Tablets | Streaming devices | Streaming platforms | Mobile | Console gaming
Eli Blumenthal
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Apple's long-rumored AR-VR headset may be arriving next year. According to a new report from notable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the iPhone-maker is aiming to put Wi-Fi 6 and 6E support into the device, which could arrive at some point towards the end of 2022. 

In a note to investors, spotted by MacRumors, Kuo writes that Meta (formerly Facebook), Sony and Apple will all have new virtual reality or augmented reality headsets of some kind next year, which will support the latest Wi-Fi standards. He expects that Meta's product will launch in the second half of the year, Apple's in the fourth quarter of 2022 and Sony's sometime in the second quarter. 

Last week during its Facebook Connect event Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg teased a new, higher-end headset dubbed Project Cambria that the company says will arrive next year. Sony, meanwhile, has been teasing a successor to its PlayStation VR headset that is designed for the PlayStation 5. It too is aiming to launch its VR product in 2022.  

Kuo writes that using Wi-Fi 6 or Wi-Fi 6E will be a "basic requirement for head-mounted displays to improve the wireless experience," adding that "Wi-Fi 6 is significantly better than Wi-Fi 5 in transmission speed and power consumption." 

See also: Best VR headsets to buy in 2021

Apple's latest iPhone 12 and 13 lines of devices support Wi-Fi 6. None of its phones, however, support Wi-Fi 6E. That standard of Wi-Fi allows for devices to communicate in the 6GHz band of wireless airwaves while Wi-Fi 6 and earlier forms of Wi-Fi were limited to only using the 2.4GHz or 5GHz frequencies. 

When operating in this band, Wi-Fi 6E should allow for faster data transfers and experience less interference than those other bands and earlier Wi-Fi devices. This could potentially allow Apple and others to create AR and VR headsets that don't need to be tethered to another device with a cable. 

Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.