A cheaper Apple Vision Pro might not land until 2026 – and Samsung’s XR/VR headset could steal its lunch

The current Apple Vision Pro is a fantastic bit of mixed reality kit, blending impressive hardware and an innovative user interface. But as you’ll see in our Apple Visio Pro review, it’s far from perfect; throw in a $ 3,499 price tag and other early-adopter woes, and the headset isn’t something for most people. 

As such, Apple has been tipped to be working on next-generation and potentially cheaper versions of the Vision Pro. But Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, who’s a renowned and accurate Apple tipster, has said the Cupertino crew is some 18 months away from releasing a ‘Vision Pro 2’, with a roadmap that reportedly won't see a second-generation model ready until the end of 2026. 

Apparently, Apple will try and bring the cheaper version to the market before then, but Gurman says, per his sources, that Apple is “flummoxed” about how exactly to bring the headset's cost down. 

So that arguably leaves a gap in the mixed reality (or XR for extended reality) market, one that Apple has injected interest into for others to join in. Enter Samsung. 

Samsung, Sony and Snapdragon

The South Korean tech giant is working on an XR headset that's likely to come with some impressive specs. We’re talking about a Sony-made micro-OLED display with a resolution of 3,840 x 3,552 pixels, 90Hz refresh rate and a peak brightness of 1,000-nits; those are Vision Pro-challenging screen specs. A Snapdragon XR2 Plus Gen 2 chipset is set to power the Samsung XR/VR headset, which could arrive at some point this year.

While Apple has a knack for creating slick interconnected product ecosystems, Samsung has got a lot better at building out its device ecosystem, in addition to having its phones, tablets and other gadgets play nice with Windows 11. So it could make an impressive XR headset that arguably has more flexibility that the Vision Pro by working with more devices and a wider range of laptops.

Now that’s all speculation on my part, but Samsung has made VR headsets in the past and worked closely with Microsoft, which could give it an ace up the sleeve by working well with Microsoft MR platform and perhaps Steam VR; the latter would arguably give it a gaming advantage over the Vision Pro.

The Samsung Gear VR headset on a red desk

The Samsung Gear VR – you needed a phone to operate it (Image credit: samsung)

Working with a more open-ended platform like Windows 11 could potentially make it easier for more developers to get on board with making XR/MR apps and services. That would make jumping into XR a more appealing prospect if would-be buyers could be assured of plenty of apps and software compatibility.

Furthermore, Samsung is potentially closer to supply chains than Apple – not least of all because it has its own display arm – so could stand to make a high-end XR headset that undercuts the Vision Pro.

While I need to be convinced that extended and mixed reality (which blends virtual and augmented reality) has a viable spot in the future of computing, I’m keen to see Apple have some clear competition in the area – there are other MR headsets but they haven’t really grabbed the limelight or developed a system to compete with Apple’s visionOS; that’s not counting the likes of the Meta Quest 3

Samsung basically competes with Apple in the smartphone arena, so I see no reason why it can't lock horns in the XR world, and with a reported wait for a next-gen Vision Pro, Samsung could take a bite out of the MR pie for itself.

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Did we just catch our first glimpse of Windows 12? If so, we won’t get the new OS until 2025

We might have just caught our first glimpse of Windows 12, although we can’t be sure about that – but what we do know is that Microsoft is making a big change with test builds of Windows.

XenoPanther on X (formerly Twitter) noticed that the internal Canary versions of Windows 11 – those in the earliest testing channel, in other words – were just forked with a new build 27547 coming into play.

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The most recent Canary channel build is version 26040 as you may be aware if you follow these preview releases (which comes with a new Voice Clarity feature to improve video chats).

So, now we have builds in the 26XXX range and also the 27XXX range, prompting the obvious question: Is the latter Windows 12 in its first test phase? Let’s discuss that in more depth next.


Analysis: I’m giving her all she’s got, Captain!

As Zac Bowden, the well-known Microsoft leaker (of Windows Central fame) points out, the likelihood here is that the next release of Windows is the 26XXX branch, which is currently rumored (by Bowden) to be Windows 11 24H2 coming later this year.

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That means the 27XXX preview versions could be the next incarnation of Windows after that, the one arriving in 2025 (and these builds probably won’t go into testing with Windows Insiders for some time yet). Hence the (tentative) conclusion that this might be Windows 12, or an all-new Windows, whatever it may be called.

(Although we should further note that technically, Windows 11 24H2 will be all-new. Not the front-end mind, but the underlying foundations – it will be built on a new platform known as Germanium, which will offer considerable performance and security benefits deep under the hood).

At any rate, this pretty much underlines the idea that Windows 12 (or next-gen Windows, whatever the final name) is not coming this year, and will probably arrive next year. After all, Windows 10 gets ditched in 2025, so it makes some sense that a new OS comes in as one shuffles out the exit door (in October 2025 to be precise).

As we’ve discussed before, one of the dangers of bringing in Windows 12 this year is that the move would fragment the desktop user base into three camps, which is clumsy and a headache for organizing updates. So that scenario is neatly avoided if Windows 12 doesn’t turn up until 2025.

As a side note, Microsoft has codenames for its OS development semesters, and the next one should have been arsenic – but due to it being perceived as “scary and violent” Bowden tells us, the software giant has avoided it, and is instead using the codename Dilithium. Which is pretty cool for Star Trek fans (maybe Duranium will be next in line when another unsuitable real-world element pops up).

Via Neowin, Deskmodder

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You’ve all missed the best Oculus Quest 2 deal of the year, but please don’t buy a different one until Black Friday

Sorry folks, you’ve all missed out on Amazon’s best Oculus Quest 2 Black Friday deal – possibly the one of best Black Friday deals in general – that would have got you $ 50/£50 off the 128GB model and a free $ 50/£50 gift card to spend on anything at Amazon. But please don’t panic buy a different Quest 2 deal yet.

The gift card deal is currently sold out at both Amazon US and Amazon UK, but there’s a chance it may rematerialize on Black Friday itself – which is November 24 this year.  It’s not uncommon for deals to appear, disappear then return in the build-up to the biggest sales event of the year; I’m hoping this incredible Quest 2 will continue this trend and show up on Friday.

If it does reappear then you’re in the money; you’ll get a great bargain on Meta’s budget VR headset. If it doesn’t then you’ll still be able to grab one of the other excellent (but not quite as excellent) Quest 2 deals out there. In the US you can get the Oculus Quest 2 (128GB) for $ 249 at Walmart instead of $ 299, while in the UK you can get the Quest 2 (128GB), Elite Strap and case for £249 at Currys, saving you £140. So unless you are absolutely desperate to get a VR headset as soon as possible hold out a few days longer as you might be able to save big.

The best Black Friday Quest 2 deals

Oculus Quest 2 + Amazon Gift Card: was $ 349.99 now $ 249.00 at Amazon
This incredible Black Friday deal on Meta’s Oculus Quest 2 is currently sold out, but it might reappear on November 24 (Black Friday itself). Check this link every so often and worst case you can pick up one of the other great Quest 2 deals on this page.View Deal

Oculus Quest 2 (128GB): was $ 299 now $ 249 at Walmart
Meta’s Oculus Quest 2 was, until recently, our favorite VR headset and this Black Friday you can get it for its lowest-ever price of just $ 249. You’ll then be able to jump into an incredible selection of VR games and apps available on the Quest platform and finally see how much fun VR can be.
You can also find the same deal at Amazon and Best Buy if you’d rather shop somewhere else.View Deal

Meta Quest 2 and £50 gift card: was £349.99 now £249 at Amazon
This deal is sold out at the time of writing but there’s a chance it may return on Black Friday. When November 24 comes around follow this link and see if Amazon has put it live again because this sale hasn’t been beat.View Deal

Oculus Quest 2 (128GB), Elite Strap and case: was £389 now £249 at Currys
Currys’ bundle deal has just got better. Now you’re saving £50 on Meta’s Oculus Quest 2 VR headset and getting the official Elite Strap and a carry case for free. This is one of the best deals we’ve seen this Black Friday, and one you definitely don’t want to miss out on.

Preferred partner (What does this mean?)View Deal

Admittedly, I think you should just ignore all of the Oculus Quest 2 deals, no matter how good they are. 

I love my Quest 2, it’s a super solid VR gadget that doesn’t break the bank. But the Meta Quest 3 is the new kid on the block, and it’s more than worth the added cost. It’s more powerful, offers better graphics, and has full-color mixed reality. If you’re looking for a VR headset, get this one – for the vast, vast majority of people, you don’t need anything else.

Though at $ 499 / £479 it’s twice (or almost twice) as pricey as a Quest 2 while it’s on sale for Black Friday. If you’re on a tight budget the Quest 2 will definitely serve you well, but those of you who can stretch to the Quest 3 should splash out.

Meta Quest 3: $ 499 & get a free game at Amazon
The Meta Quest 3 isn’t currently discounted, and likely won’t be for Black Friday as it’s so new, but you can get a free digital copy of Asgard’s Wrath 2 when it launches later this year.
If you’d rather not shop at Amazon the same offer is available from Walmart, Best Buy, and Target as well as others. View Deal

Meta Quest 3: £479.99 & get a free game at Amazon
The Meta Quest 3 only just launched so it was extremely unlikely it would see much of a discount for Black Friday. There is still a deal on though; if you order the headset before January 27, 2024, and activate it before February 9, 2024, you’ll get Asgard’s Wrath 2 for free when the game releases.
If you’d rather shop elsewhere the same deal is available at Very, Currys, and Game among others. View Deal

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Apple Vision Pro may not fully launch until March alongside new iPads

The launch of Apple’s Vision Pro headset is going to be a little later than anticipated as rumors state it’ll come out sometime in March 2024.

Industry insider Mark Gurman claimed in his recent Power On newsletter that the original plan was for January 2024, but for reasons unknown, things had to be pushed back a couple of months. Forbes in their report suggests two possible reasons for the delay. One: Apple may want further “advanced device testing” before the big day. Two: the tech giant is still hashing out the logistics of how it plans to distribute the Vision Pro. The idea so far is Apple will release the VR headset in the United States first with an international launch to certain countries later on in 2024. We currently don’t know the full list of global regions that’ll receive the Vision Pro although Gurman has said in the past that the United Kingdom and Canada are two possible locations.

According to 9To5Mac, Apple is expected to “sell the device by appointment only” at one of its in-person stores or online on its digital storefront. The company will not partner up with third-party retailers as it aims to “carefully curate the rollout”.

The Vision Pro is slated to offer differently-sized headbands as well as prescription lenses so all users can enjoy the mixed-reality experience. Doing so would’ve required retailers to stock up on hundreds of accessories for a headset they might not be familiar with. It appears Apple would rather do everything itself in order to avoid any errors.

Alongside new iPads

It is disappointing to learn about the delay for the Vision Pro although it does make sense. Not just because Apple wants to do more testing, but also so it can line up the launch with the release of other products. Spring can be a busy time for the company and this upcoming season looks like it won't be an exception. Gurman stated back in October that there will be new iPads in March; however, it will simply be a minor refresh. What constitutes a “minor” upgrade is unknown.

If you want a more substantial upgrade, you may have to wait a bit longer. Other rumors suggest Apple will launch an iPad Pro sporting an OLED screen in 2024. It'll be available in 11-inch and 12.9-inch models. From there, Apple will reportedly continue updating its hardware, such as the iPad Air and MacBook Pro, with OLED tech in the following years. As always, take this information with a grain of salt. Things could change at the last minute.

Be sure to check out TechRadar’s list of best iPads for 2023.

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