The rumor mill has been churning for a while now with the news of potential production delays impacting the rollout Apple’s mixed reality headset, and now we have a hint about why that might be: According to an investor note from trusted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the new device is expected to incorporate Wi-Fi 6E to offer higher bandwidth and low latency connectivity.
In a note sent out to investors on Monday, Kuo explains that the high-resolution content supported by mixed-reality headsets requires a wired connection in order to be seamlessly transferred—one of the clunkiest aspects of the new tech. But because Wi-Fi 6E’s offers a higher bandwidth and lower latency connection, its adoption could allow Apple and other competing brands to forego the physical cable for an untethered VR and AR experience.
“The adoption of the latest Wi-Fi specification is a basic requirement for head-mounted displays (HMDs) to improve the wireless experience. New HMDs from Meta, Apple, and Sony will all adopt Wi-Fi 6/6E in 2022,” Kuo predicts, according to MacRumors. “We forecast Meta, Apple, and Sony to be the most influential brands in the metaverse device market in 2022, with Meta, Apple, and Sony launching new HMDs in 2H22, 4Q22, and 2Q22, respectively.”
Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E—also known as 802.11ax—are the latest wifi standards, and while there are some differences between the two, both support faster speeds and a more optimized mobile experience. Meta—the company formerly known as Facebook— already has a Wi-Fi 6-capable device on the market with the Oculus Quest 2, which is capable of streaming up to 120Hz.
As Gizmodo previously reported, Apple’s forthcoming headset has hit production snags due to a “complicated design” that Kuo had previously hinted at. While the exact details of the device’s operation are still scant, it’s looking like an increasingly safe bet that the head-mounted display will be able to wirelessly outsource its computing to an iPhone. And while the actual design of the device itself is still a mystery, the Information previously reported that the headsets would include two 8K displays and more than a dozen cameras for hand-tracking, and will retail for a staggering $3,000.