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What’s really causing the M2 MacBook Pro launch delay?

Updated Dec 19th, 2022 3:29PM EST
Apple MacBook Pro M1 Pro
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

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Until recently, we believed that Apple would launch new M2 MacBook Pro models this year. Specifically, the M2 Pro and M2 Max variants of the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models, with November looking like a possible release window.

However, we then learned that Apple would not release new Macs in 2022. Reports said that the next MacBook Pro refresh would arrive sometime during the first quarter of 2023, possibly alongside macOS 13.3, which Apple is developing internally.

There are plenty of valid explanations for Apple’s decision. The economy, the new lockdowns in China, and Apple’s own development cycles could be to blame. But what if the actual reason is a device that seems to have nothing to do with the M2 MacBook Pro refresh? The real reason could be Apple’s first mixed reality headset, which will basically be a head-mounted Mac running on the “realityOS” operating system.

When will Apple launch the AR/VR headset?

Mixed reality denotes experiences that involve augmented (AR) and virtual reality (VR) on the same gadget, focusing on the latter. Apple’s Reality One/Pro, which is a possible name for the headset, will look more like a bulky VR headset than a nimble pair of glasses.

But we saw plenty of reports in the past few years that claimed Apple’s approach to mixed reality devices would set the tone in the industry. And everyone will hurry to copy Apple’s lead, including companies that have been manufacturing VR headsets for years.

Apple mixed reality glasses render - bottom view.
Apple mixed reality glasses render – bottom view. Image source: Ian Zelbo

How is that all tied to the M2 MacBook Pro launch delay? All these AR/VR headset reports painted the same general picture. The device will be unlike anything else in the industry. It’ll offer users access to entertainment, communication, games, and all sorts of other apps and experiences without a tether to a computer or iPhone.

The mixed reality headset will run on a powerful chip from Apple, with the most recent rumors claiming that it’ll be a version of the M2. Previous reports pointed to the gadget running an M1 variation.

As a result, the mixed reality headset should be at least as powerful as a MacBook Air or entry-level Pro, if not even better. And it’ll run an iOS-based operating system optimized for augmented and virtual reality experiences.

Will the M2 MacBook Pro launch coincide with the AR/VR headset reveal?

Rumors also say that Apple could unveil the AR/VR headset early next year during a special event dedicated to this brand-new type of product. But the headset will need several months to hit stores, much like it happened with the original iPhone, the iPad, and the first Apple Watch.

I’m only speculating at this point, but what if Apple delayed the M2 MacBook Pro announcement to have all of these devices launch at the same time?

One immediate benefit would be selling new MacBooks in the first quarter of 2023, several months before the Reality Pro device would hit stores.

16-Inch MacBook Pro
16-inch MacBook Pro launched in late October 2021. Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR

The other actually concerns the processors powering these devices. Apple may want to keep secret some of its silicon advancements when it comes to the M2 Pro and Max chips.

Maybe Apple’s new CPU and GPU innovations would inform rivals of the kind of hardware the mixed reality headset would have to offer. If the M2 MacBook Pro models were to launch in November 2022, several months before the AR/VR headset reveal.

Or manufacturing the M2 chips that will power all these unreleased devices is a more challenging process. Apple is simply ensuring it’ll have enough inventory for the laptops and the new headset.

Then again, this is just speculation. The simple realities of the current economy might have convinced Apple not to proceed with a new laptop launch late this year. Also, we have no guarantees that the AR/VR headset reveal will take place in early 2023. Whatever the case, the usual leakers will spill more details soon.

More Apple coverage: Check out the best Apple deals online right now.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.