Apple is set to introduce its own mixed reality headset during the WWDC 2023 keynote in June. While rumors about this product have been swirling for years, reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says this event will be Apple’s “last hope” for convincing investors that its mixed reality headset could have a chance to be the next “star product” in consumer electronics.
According to Kuo, “the current market consensus may overestimate AR/VR headset devices’ contribution to key component suppliers over the next few years, particularly in the optical related.” The analyst states that there is currently “insufficient evidence” to suggest that AR/VR headsets can become the next star product in consumer electronics “in the foreseeable future” for any company.
Besides Apple’s long-rumored mixed reality headset, there are other players in the market with AR/VR headsets – and they’re all struggling. Kuo gives three different examples:
- The recently-announced PS VR2 barely started selling, and Sony has cut its 2023 production plan by about 20%;
- The product lifecycle shipment for Meta Quest Pro is only around 300,000 units;
- Pico’s (China’s largest AR/VR headset brand) shipments in 2022 were more than 40% lower than expected.
With that, why would Apple be the one having success with its mixed reality headset? Current rumors show the device will be very expensive (around $3,000-4,000), its battery will only last a couple of hours, and some of its most interesting features may not work as expected with the first iterations of its software.
Although we could say the same about the first iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch, neither of these devices (despite the Apple Watch being made of gold) cost that much while delivering a similar experience that users can already do on other platforms.
So far, the key rumored features of this headset are virtual reality FaceTime, in-air typing, and an immersive video-watching experience.
In two months, we might discover if that will be enough for Apple to call this its next star product.