For using technologies like mixed reality (MR) and augmented reality (AR) for productivity, much of the population remains unsure. While these technologies are certainly cool, I still consider them things we can happily live (and work) without. However, several companies, including well-known names like Meta and Apple, appear to disagree. Meta has recently increased its efforts to build the metaverse, even launching a new AR headset a few months ago.
While Apple has yet to confirm publicly, several reports suggest that the company is serious about its plans for a mixed-reality headset. In fact, Apple has been interested in such technology since the mid-1990s, as evidenced by this 1995 paper written by Apple engineers. Apple had planned to release its MR headset two years ago, but I pushed the project back because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Several reports about Apple’s MR headset surfaced between 2022 and 2023, with the majority showing that they would release the product in 2023. We also learned about specific hardware features of the product earlier this week, including the possibility of it being powered by a waist-mounted battery pack. Previous rumors suggested the headset would use Apple’s desktop-class M-series processors manufactured on a 5 nm process. While this was exciting news for hardware nerds like us, a new report shows that Apple’s MR headset project is now behind schedule.
Apple Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo recently tweeted that Apple’s plans to launch its first VR headset in the first half of 2023 are becoming increasingly difficult. Apple had planned to hold a launch event for its MR headset in January 2023, but it does not appear that will happen. Instead, Kuo says he is now planning a launch by the end of the year’s second quarter, or in the third quarter.
Ming-Chi Kuo attributes the most recent delays to mechanical drop testing issues with the product. Apple is experiencing issues with software development tools for the MR headset. Kuo does not rule out Apple announcing the MR headset at a dedicated spring media event, or at this year’s WWDC, which is usually held in June. According to Kuo, Apple’s MR headset could be teased as a “One More Thing” product during the WWDC keynote before the main product launch event in October or November.
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Previous reports also suggested that Apple’s MR headset would have a limited production run of only 0.7 million units because of its high price tag, which is expected to exceed $3000.