Sony and Microsoft already have VR and AR glasses on offer, but it looks as though they might be about to face a new competitor. Rumour has it that Apple is working on its own VR headset and, according to Bloomberg, it could go on sale as early as 2022.

You won't need a PC or Mac to use the glasses, which will run independently on battery power; in this respect the Apple headset will follow the example of the Oculus Quest 2. The heart of the device is an as yet unannounced chip that should even outperform the new M1 Mac processor.

However, the project has faced some developmental obstacles - not least the fact that prototypes have turned out to be too big and heavy. Apple wants to reduce the weight by using a cladding made of fabric. Unlike many rival products, Apple's VR glasses feature active fan cooling, something the company generally tries to avoid in mobile products.

The headset, which is codenamed N301, can interpret hand movements and operate a virtual keyboard; it's intended to support a blend of VR and AR applications. Apple currently employs more than 1,000 people developing the glasses.

Price predictions are high, and the device is expected to cost significantly more than current competing products. As a result, Apple does not appear to expect high sales: extrapolating from internal predictions, Bloomberg reckons we're looking at fewer than 200,000 units sold per year.

Until now we've assumed that Apple will approach AV and VR separately; you can read about the latest rumours in each field in our Apple AR glasses and Apple VR headset news hubs.

Main image courtesy of Jon Prosser on Front Page Tech, who's leaked lots of information about the rumoured Apple Glass product:

This article originally appeared on Macwelt. Translation by David Price.