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Reality Pro delayed? Here's when we may see Apple's VR headset
No spring debut and a fall release alongside iPhone 15 both look more likely as Apple wrestles with software and hardware issues
➡️ The Shortcut Skinny: Reality Pro delayed
🥽 Apple VR headset needs software, hardware work, likely delayed per analyst
🧐 The report solidifies confidence in fall 2023 release, pushed back from summer
📆 Reality Pro will probably be shown at Apple’s WWDC event in June
👀 Release may see fewer than 500,000 units produced at launch
🤔 Unclear what Apple’s plans are for Reality Pro, but business seems most likely
Following previous reports that Apple’s Reality Pro is delayed, prominent supply chain analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has firmed up his earlier prediction that Apple will push the product back to coincide with the iPhone 15 Pro Max release date. Though previously expected to see a spring 2023 announcement, it’s likely now we won’t see the Apple VR headset until June at the World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC).
In January, Kuo again predicted a delay, saying Apple was wrestling with both software and hardware issues – specifically for the latter, it’s said to have trouble with drop testing for the mechanical components.
A launch alongside the iPhone 15 could still be advantageous for the incoming headset, positioning it just before the holiday season, but it sounds like there won’t be a lot of them around to be had. Kuo’s December tweet, linked above, alleged that Apple planning to produce less than 500,000 units of the new headset – a toe dip in the water for such a massive company.
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Apple Reality Pro: troubled waters
I hesitate to speculate why there are so few units being made, but another report this morning may hold clues. Apple’s primary supply chain partner for the Apple Reality Pro, Pegatron, is quietly withdrawing from direct participation in the headset and will be most likely transferring development and production of the headset to a subsidiary of both Pegatron and a company called Luxshare ICT soon, according to a Kuo Medium article this morning.
Kuo believes this is a bad portent for Apple, as it indicates Apple is struggling to keep partners interested in the investment. A huge unknown all this time has been what Apple intends to actually do with its forthcoming headset, and that may lead to hesitant partnerships.
If it’s gaming, Apple has a tough row to hoe, as the company has struggled to draw big game development to its Mac platform, despite the iPhone’s wild success as a mobile gaming platform making it technically one of the biggest in the gaming market. That success means little when it comes to high-profile games, which are likely instead to go to more established brands, and given our glowing PSVR 2 review, it doesn’t look good for Apple there.
Apple seems more likely to succeed in business applications. Reports that the Apple mixed-reality headset will be expensive make it an unlikely candidate for social use, even given reports of an Apple mixed-reality metaverse (though according to Bloomberg, Apple refuses to use that term). However, the Reality Pro is expected to have over a dozen cameras, some of which may be used to track body movements for real-time avatar representation, making it a potential game-changer for virtual meetings too.