Apple's Reality Pro headset specs just leaked

Apple's AR/VR headset's displays are so bright you might have to wear shades

Apple VR concept
(Image credit: Antonio de Rosa)

Even Apple can't keep secrets forever, and details of the Reality Pro headset that's due to launch next week at WWDC 2023 are starting to leak. Display analyst Ross Young, who has a decent track record of Apple stories, has posted what he says are the specs of the Reality Pro's displays. And it looks like it'll be rather like clamping one of the best 8K TVs to your face.

According to Young, the displays will be delivering 4K per eye. The microLED panels are 1.41 inches diagonally, with 4,000 pixels per inch and a whopping 5,000-plus nits of peak brightness. By comparison, Sony's PSVR 2 doesn't even crack 300 nits. 

Why is the Apple Reality Pro headset so bright?

The Reality Pro headset is delivering the kind of brightness you'd expect from one of the best TVs, and that brightness means it should be able to deliver the same kind of spectacular high dynamic range (HDR) performance as a top-spec TV. Given that one of Apple's key goals is to position this as a device for watching entertainment on the Apple TV app, that's going to make the rumoured $3,000 price tag feel a little less extravagant.

But brightness is also important for mixed reality / augmented reality: I'm writing this on a sunny day and of course, it's very bright out there and reality has a very wide dynamic range. 

Think of it like a projector: to get the best results you can either ramp up the brightness or darken the room, because if you don't then the image is washed out rather than bright and punchy.

So if you're trying to make the reality inside your Reality Pro look, well, real, then you need to be putting out a lot more light than you'd need for playing VR Beat Saber in a darkened room. And if you're going to be wearing your headset outside, which Reality Pro users will be doing, you need your displays to be bright enough to cope with any light leaking in from outside too. 

In this respect at least, Apple's AR/VR headset outperforms any of its rivals. It'll be interesting to see how its other specifications compare too, and no doubt some more leaks will fill in a few more gaps before the big reveal next week.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (