Apple mixed reality headset reportedly 'delayed' to later in 2023, says lead analyst
The Apple AR/VR headset is being held back by software, claims new report
➡️ The Shortcut Skinny: Mixed reality messages
🥽 Apple’s mixed-reality AR/VR headset was expected Q2 2023
😔 Ming-Chi Kuo says it may be coming in late 2023 instead
🚚 Component shipments are still on time, but final product is moved back
💾 He, therefore, speculates the delay to be software-related
🤔 I don’t think there’s enough info to make that guess
The rumored Apple mixed reality headset that combines AR and VR in a head-worn wearable may not become an in-your-hands reality as quickly as once thought.
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Most current chatter had the Apple AR/VR headset release date pegged for Q2 2023, directly competing with the high-end Meta Quest Pro that’s out now and the PS5-compatible Sony PSVR 2, which has a release date of February 22, 2023. Apple’s headset has been years in the making, with the first solid indications that it was being worked on coming from a patent filing by the company in 2015.
Alas, according to notable technology supply chain analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, it’s possible it’s being bumped back to the second half of 2023 while Apple works to get the software ready.
Kuo came to this conclusion after noting later in the Twitter thread that none of the components for the device are delayed, yet the mass shipment schedule of the final product has been pushed back. That’s certainly one possibility, though of course Apple could have delayed the AR/VR headset timetable for other reasons.
Slight changes to the design that don’t require the ordering of new components, adjustments to the marketing plan, newly-identified manufacturing challenges or even the simple realization that a more advantageous launch window is later in the year are all possible, heading into the final runway for the company’s first foray into the space. Apple tends to take a measured approach when bringing new products to market, and I’d hesitate to say this is for sure a software issue – it could be anything at this point.
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The Apple VR headset: what’s expected
Officially, Apple has yet to announce the headset, but we’ve seen strong hints about its existence for some time now. From early patents to references to its so-called realityOS – which may officially be called “xrOS” – in GitHub repositories and reports of Apple bigwigs getting an in-person demo of the tech, clues have built over nearly eight years to an imminent announcement about the tech.
So far, expectations about the headset include that it will be powered by the Apple M2 chip, which is in the latest MacBook Air (one of our best laptop picks) and iPad Pro, alongside 16GB of RAM. There may even be an input device, called the Apple Ring, that gives users a Minority Report-style gesture control system that can be used in conjunction with the Apple Pencil for AR, VR, and MR purposes. Other reports indicate you’ll be able to use an Apple Watch or two for control and navigate virtual menus within the headset.
The Apple headset could use iris scanning for authentication, adding a new type of biometric security to the company’s stable of techniques and 15 internal cameras for tracking the wearer’s eye movement.
Here’s the kicker: the final Apple mixed-reality headset price could be as high as $3,000, which I would expect will keep it out of the hands of average consumers – even ones who opt for the top-of-the-line iPhone 14 Pro Max. If that’s the price, I’d assume Apple is targeting its power user, professional, and creative bases with the product, at least with the first iteration of its AR/VR headset.
Apple is also rumored to be working on an augmented reality wearable product, similar to Google Glass, that would provide an augmented reality experience to its users using more regular-looking spectacles. Apple’s AR glasses aren’t expected soon, however, with some putting its release as late as 2026.
Next up: Twitter files explained