Apple has been rumored for years to be working on a headset that combines augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) — sometimes referred to as mixed reality (MR) — and our latest update on the device The prediction is that it will launch later this year.
Veteran industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who usually knows what he’s talking about when it comes to Apple, tweeted (opens in a new tab) (pass 9to5Mac (opens in a new tab)) AR/VR headsets are behind schedule due to some hardware testing and availability of software development tools.
That means the shipping window could be delayed from the second quarter of 2023 to the third quarter: July, August or September, Guo said. Previous leaks, including one from Kuo, have pointed to the device arriving in the first half of the year.
timing is everything
However, it’s still possible that Apple could announce the device well in advance, well before it actually goes on sale. “Based on the current development process, it might make a grand debut at an event around March or at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference in June,” Kuo said.
Getting app developers to work with the new hardware will be critical — not many people will buy expensive AR/VR headsets without some notable practical use.
Judging by early leaks, it appears that Apple could call the operating system realityOS on the new devices, though that’s by no means certain. After so many years of rumors and speculation, it’ll be interesting to see what Apple actually manages to put together when the headphones finally get their grand unveiling.
Analysis: Apple’s big move
It’s easy to take Apple’s massive manufacturing operations for granted: It churns out millions of iPhones, iPads, Macs, and other hardware every month, and (by and large) manages to do it all without any serious problems .
When it comes to breaking into different product categories, like AR/VR headsets (or cars), there are more challenges. The parts and workmanship are new, and that’s before we discuss whether anyone will actually buy it.
The Apple Watch was the last time Apple launched an entirely new product rather than an update to an existing one. After a bumpy start, consumers finally embraced the wearable, and it’s now a fixture in Apple’s hardware lineup.
Like smartwatches, AR/VR headsets will be an adventure for Apple. It’s not a gadget category that showcases a ton of existing devices, which gives Apple more of an opportunity to set the standard for our mixed reality future.