Apple’s long-rumored AR/VR headset won’t be arriving as early as some believed. According to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the release of Apple’s headset is being pushed back until late 2023 due to “software issues.” Previously, Kuo anticipated that Apple would release its AR/VR headset by June of next year at the latest.
If you’ve been following the development of Apple’s AR/VR headset, this news shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. After all, Apple’s somewhat mythical headset has been in a perpetual state of “coming soon” for years. In fact, rumors regarding an AR headset from Apple have been around since 2016, and multiple release dates have come and gone during that time frame.
Apple’s AR/VR headset is still on the way
According to Kuo, Apple is still very much planning to release an AR/VR headset. Kuo writes that Apple will ship components for device manufacturing early next year. But given the later-than-expected production schedule, Kuo believes that production in 2023 will be “less than 500k units.”
All that said, it’s certainly easy to be skeptical of these reports. Again, we were supposed to see Apple’s AR headset in 2018, then 2020, and then 2022, and now 2023. While a 2023 release date would be intriguing, it’s clear that Apple’s headset encompasses a lot of complex technology that Apple wants to get just right before releasing it to the public.
Key features we can expect
Release date aside, what type of features can we expect to see in Apple’s AR/VR headset? From what we’ve seen so far, the headset will boast around 10-15 cameras along with incredibly high-resolution displays that will project pertinent information to the user. A report from earlier this year claims that the device will boast three displays. One will be a single AMOLED display while the other two will be Micro OLED displays.
The complex array of cameras will provide users with an immersive augmented reality environment that will transmit data from the outside world to the user. Some rumored features include advanced gaming capabilities, eye-tracking, voice recognition, hand-tracking, spatial recognition, and integration with Apple services like Apple TV+, Apple Music, and Apple Arcade.
With respect to form factor, Apple’s AR/VR headset will reportedly be portable but still heavier than an iPad. The entire device will reportedly be powered by a specialized M2 processor.
How much will Apple’s AR/VR headset cost?
Rumor has it that Apple’s mixed reality headset will cost anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000. Put simply, it’s not going to be cheap, or even affordable for many people.
That being said, it’s fair to say that Apple’s headset may be more of a niche product than a revolutionary device like the iPhone.
Tim Cook is all-in on Augmented Reality
Tim Cook over the years has been effusive when it comes to Augmented Reality. During an interview with China Daily a few months ago, Cook said the following:
I am incredibly excited about AR, as you might know, and the critical thing to any technology including AR is putting humanity at the center of it.
How this will manifest in terms of what Apple’s headset becomes remains to be seen. But recall that Cook at one point said that AR, in his view, has the potential to be as monumental as the release of the original iPhone. It’s a bombastic prediction, to be sure. Consequently, more than a few people are taking a “wait and see” approach.
Lastly, Apple is also working on a pair of AR Glasses. Rumor has it that Apple’s AR Glasses will ship around 2-3 years after its Augmented Reality headset arrives.