Palmer Luckey, the founder of Oculus who left the company in 2017, appears to have insider knowledge of the upcoming Apple XR headset, which is expected to be unveiled at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) next month. To Luckey, Apple’s hotly awaited entrance into the space is apparently “so good.”

Update (May 17th, 2023): In a Twitter spaces chat with Peter H. Diamandis, Luckey described a bit of his experiences with an earlier version of Apple’s headset, noting in the May 4th interview that he hasn’t seen the final version:

“The Apple headset is very, very good. I’ve not seen the final headset, but I have seen an earlier version of the headset and it is excellent. It is going to be a huge deal. It is going to be expensive, but I think that they’re following a pretty smart strategy, which is to make VR into something everybody wants before it’s something that everybody can afford, which was kind of our position in the early days when we started Oculus. The Oculus Rift was sort of a flagship headset, and was [setting] the bar for what VR could be. In many ways, nobody’s even beaten the first Oculus Rift CV1 today in terms ergonomics, lightweight-ness, a lot of the adjustability—and I think Apple is going to do a great job of that.”

The original article continues below:

Luckey hasn’t quantified his experience beyond this, or even said that his impressions indeed come from a personal demo of Apple’s long-rumored mixed reality headset, which, like Meta Quest Pro, is thought to be capable of both virtual reality and passthrough augmented reality thanks to outward facing cameras. Whatever the case, the VR pioneer is sufficiently impressed with whatever the fruit company has in store.

Luckey, who founded defense company Anduril after his 2017 Facebook departure, is no stranger to candidly voicing his opinions on headset design. When unicorn AR startup Magic Leap released its ML1 headset in mid-2018, he called it a “tragic heap,” further stating the AR headset was “a tragedy in the classical sense.”

Palmer Lucker donning ML1 | Image courtesy Palmer Luckey

At the time, Magic Leap was just as secretive about its hardware as Apple is today. And Luckey’s opinion was undoubtedly tinged by the company’s self-generated hype which grew in the shadow of that secrecy.

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“Magic Leap needed to really blow people away to justify the last few years,” Luckey wrote in his review of the headset. “The product they put out is reasonably solid, but is nowhere close to what they had hyped up, and has several flaws that prevent it from becoming a broadly useful tool for development of AR applications. That is not good for the XR industry.”

Does this mean Apple is actually delivering on the hype and pushing the ball forward with the reported $3,000 headset? Even with an avalanche of patently unverifiable leaks to go on and Luckey’s word, we truly won’t know until that ‘one more thing’ is announced on stage. Then again, you simply never can tell with Apple. We have our calendars marked for the June 5th WWDC keynote, so join us then to find out.

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Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 3,500 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • Till Eulenspiegel

    Apple’s marketing for the headset has started. Between now and WWDC, they will be showing off the headset to insiders and let them leak info – this will hype up the headset and anticipation for it’s reveal on 5th June.

    • ViRGiN

      time to disable notifications from all cringetubers

  • Runesr2

    Palmer was also blown away by the PSVR2.

    Unfortunately he forgot to mention the mura, tiny sweet spot, and that the top games Call of the Mountain, RE8 VR and GT7 VR all use 60 fps with reprojections. I own a PSVR2, I do like it, but my real-world experience, also after some months, does not match Palmer’s words.

    • ViRGiN

      He also said Pimax 5K was “better than expected” and promised a review while still being employed by Meta. Obviously it could never happen, and it never did.

      He still hasn’t published files for CV1 audio fix, nor send a single unit despite gathering thousands of private data from customers he himself sold the headset to.

      His motion sickness solution was also never presented.

      Palmer is a joke ever since he became Facebook/Meta employee.

      • sfmike

        He became a joke when he decided to get political and became a Trumpster.

        • ViRGiN

          I can’t remember any real controversies prior to company sellout.
          Since then, he was bound to be toxic positive and ballparking a lot while not being in position to really do anything anymore.
          As soon as he got new emplyoee badge, things went south.

        • Since you want to get political, I think I found you a sticker that thoroughly encapsulates the Left and their outlook on everything their party is doing. Enjoy!

          https://media3.giphy.com/media/Z1BTGhofioRxK/giphy-downsized-small.mp4

        • Mexor

          He didn’t “get political”. He simply publicly donated to a political campaign, which is a very normal thing. Facebook “got political” by forcing him to apologize for it because he gave to the “wrong one”, which is disgraceful. The only reason it became “a thing” at all is because it was the “wrong one”.

          • ViRGiN

            Facebook forced him to apologize?
            Does the dude has no brain and is piss poor broke unable to afford lawyers?
            Or maybe he actually was in the wrong?

            There is absolutetly NOTHING to Palmer beyond being the face of the re-revolution of VR.

            He ripped me off my personal data under false pretense of sending me my CV1 audio fix kit for a headset he himself sold to me personally.

        • rogeressig

          You type ‘Trumpster’ like it’s a bad thing.

      • Jonathan Winters III

        Actually, it’s true: I ordered the audio fix, and never got it. Tried again, never got it. Did anyone get it?

        • Jistuce

          ViRGiN said something factually accurate? That’s gotta be a first.

      • Dave

        So the Pimax 5K wasn’t better than expected, WTF! Nobody expected anything of the 5K, it was a Pimax headset. Thankfully they’ve raised the bar with the Crystal and it’s pretty decent.

        • ViRGiN

          It’s not out you Chinese shill, and it lacks every single feature ever promised.

    • Jay

      Great memory, I was getting overly hyped. I like my PSVR2, but haven’t touched it in a month.

    • Kris Kiero

      Lol….find a better hmd for 600bucks….no q2, g2, pico3, dpvr are NOT better….didnt even know re8 has reprojection…its that pretty

      • XRC

        Problem is not such much the headset (mura is to be expected with any oled display just variation in manufacturing process). Looks like a good headset should see demo station rolling out soon.

        The ps5 whilst great for flat gaming, perhaps lacking the compute firepower to drive higher resolution headset at full frame rate, whilst having reserve to apply super resolution for lens distortions.

        mura correction has to be setup per headset to accommodate indvidual headset mura presentation, is this being done correctly? Software mura correction whilst required is additional conpute cost.

        • ViRGiN

          that isn’t even a real problem here. the problem is with lack of what can be universally agreed as real games.
          it’s basically a lot of content from previous years, this time tethered with no audio.

          • kool

            It just came out 3 months ago…

          • ViRGiN

            And plays games from 6 years ago.
            Look at Pico. It’s all the same games constantly.

          • kool

            I get it I’m looking for the games too. But it hasn’t had a holiday season yet and Sony is announcing some new games next week. At least give Sony some time to disappoint you lol!

    • Dave

      Wow you’re complaining at 60fps with reprojection. How entitled is that opinion? Pretty good if you ask me on a console, remember PSVR 2 also has foveated renderering and the games will make better use of the tech as developers learn more about the device.

  • I’m just happy to hear that there is more competition.

    • Nevets

      Well, on the way but not yet. As Luckey himself said: if a headset is unaffordable, it doesn’t exist. Look to Samsung for something more accessible.

      • silvaring

        Samsung and Microsoft. Can’t wait to see them enter VR proper, if anyone can cement VR as a true next gen gaming platform its Microsoft. I love how much they’ve brought to the table since the X360 days, first with XBLA, then with WMR devices, and now gamepass. Some serious disruption in those initiatives. Unlike google who just abandon all their projects mid way.

        • ViRGiN

          Google had the courtesty to announce abandoning their products.
          Valve on the other hand, never does. SteamVR is abandoned as ever. And nobody cares, cause you have all your 20 years long collecting of games in a single place.

          • Sven Viking

            Google had the courtesty to announce abandoning their products. Valve on the other hand, never does.

            While we often disagree, this part is fairly indisputable.

  • impurekind

    Interesting.

  • MarcDwonn

    Nah, it’s Apple. We know it will disappoint. But if enough non-techy rich people buy it, it will certainly help raising popularity of VR (then again, does it even do VR?).

    • It should, just turn on the real-world blinders. You could do that with as little as some duct tape. It would be SUPER FUNNY if Apple users had to do that, because Apple decided AR was in and VR was out. People selling pieces of tape with an Apple logo on it! LoL

      • MarcDwonn

        Yeah, that sounds like a thing that would happen with Apple. Maybe their secret corporate agenda is “humiliating comedy”. :)

  • another juan

    Exciting. And strange, because Luckey had negative prejudices about Apple’s Reality One just a couple months ago.

  • Jonathan Winters III

    Sounds like Palmer is trying to hype any major competitor of Meta, as a slight revenge for them ousting him.

    • rogeressig

      He gave rousing support for how good Quest 3 will be.

  • ShaneMcGrath

    Too expensive for most though, Just hurry up Meta and release Quest 3.

    • OMG, YES! That’s all I’m waiting for…. well that and the right kind of crafting/shooter RPG to get released. As Palmer said, the real problem with VR isn’t the hardware, it’s the lack of content!

      • ViRGiN

        He also said games must be made straight from the ground up, which effects we feel to this day.
        Palmer was wrong pretty much about everything ever. Dk1 is where his accomplishments ends – he isn’t an engineer or developer – he just lives to tinker with plugging different things into each other

        • silvaring

          Why did the DK1 not get good backwards compatibility support? I remember trying to launch games just a few years after release about halfway into the DK2 life cycle and my headset just stopped working with Windows 10.

      • ShaneMcGrath

        Can’t wait, I haven’t even got a real VR headset yet, Still using old 3DOF Oculus Go.

  • So… Apple releases the Magic Leap v1, for the same price Magic Leap charges for their Magic Leap v2? I hope you tools love that Apple logo, because that’s what you’re paying for.

    BTW, nice to see the comment section fixed.

  • Hiro

    This, the Quest 3, PSVR 2 and Vive XR Elite – what an incredible year.

  • Dave

    Still hold the CV1 in high regard and fondness. Premium packaging, great library and very comfortable to use. I really think Palmer is right in that many of the headsets since have been less accssible. Inside out tracking is a big plus though from the first generation but everything else accessibility wise has gone backwards. Pancake lenses is the first step out of this mess which is great.