Apple’s long-rumored AR/VR headset is still a long way off. But iPhone users who are sick of the long wait can now turn their phone into an iOS-powered AR headset by sticking it in a relatively cheap, Google Cardboard-like device.
The “HoloKit X” launched on Halloween and promises to turn people’s phones into a “see-through Stereoscopic Augmented Reality (AR) headset.” It retails for $129 and consists of a “screen” with a spot to mount your phone, plus an elastic headband.
HoloKit X provides a (currently limited) number of AR experiences. The app that powers the headset is currently only available as a “test-flight” version, with the full version planned for late November. A large third-party app library may be as far off as Apple’s official headset. HoloKit’s creators want to make the most of the initial experiences in-house, and there are currently no plans to release a dev kit.
While most VR headsets come with controllers, the HoloKit X doesn’t ship with an input method beyond prodding an exposed corner of the phone. HoloKit does have Bluetooth support, so pairing a third-party controller with the headset shouldn’t be a problem. PlayStation and Xbox controllers have been specifically mentioned, so they should work well with the app.
The company has also collaborated with New York City’s Web3 gallery. People visiting the gallery can take a version of the new headset for a spin. Apparently, you’ll be able to view things like NFTs in the real world following a future update.
The HoloKit X works with the iPhone XS, XS Max, iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max, iPhone 13, and iPhone 13 and 13 Pro Max, iPhone 14, and iPhone 14 and 14 Pro Max. For the best experience, it’s recommended that you use a model with a lidar sensor — which is any of the “Pro” versions after the iPhone 12.