Apple might be forced to push VR/AR headset back to 2023

Apple might be forced to push VR/AR headset back to 2023

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Apple mixed reality headset
It probably won't look anything like this.
Photo: Vu Hoang/Flickr CC

One of the most hotly anticipated products of 2022 could be delayed until 2023, according to an unconfirmed report. Apple’s VR/AR headset might not be announced until late this year and not ship until next year.

Mechanical and software problems reportedly delayed the device, which supposedly will offer both virtual reality and augmented reality capabilities.

Apple VR/AR headset is coming … eventually

Numerous unconfirmed reports point to Apple working on a VR/AR headset, with development supposedly going back to 2015. The product was widely expected to debut in 2022, with an unveiling at this summer’s Worldwide Developers Conference and a release later in the year.

But now Bloomberg reports, “Apple Inc. is considering pushing back the debut of its mixed-reality headset by at least a few months.” The product has problems with “overheating, cameras and software.”

Under the updated schedule, the device would be unveiled near the end of the year and reach customers in 2023. “Apple is planning to focus its 2023 developers conference on building virtual and augmented reality apps for the device, which will have an App Store,” according to Bloomberg.

If true, it wouldn’t be fair to call the device “late” because Apple never said it would arrive in 2022. In fact, Cupertino has never confirmed it’s working on a VR/AR headset at all.

Stepping stone toward Apple’s next breakout product

According to multiple leaks, the first Apple VR/AR headset will benefit from a top-tier feature set. Tipsters say it will have three high-res displays, and be powered by a chip on par with the Apple M1 in processing performance. Many types of sensors will detect the wearer’s surroundings and body motions. And all this will go into a device without as much bulk as its rivals.

The headset will supposedly offer virtual reality and augmented reality. AR overlays computer-generated images or text onto the real world. It’s different from virtual reality, which completely replaces the real world.

Its high-end feature set will allegedly give it an equally high-end price. But Apple is aware that this will be a niche product — it expects to sell 7 and 10 million of them in the first year, according to Bloomberg. But it’s only a stepping stone.

The company allegedly plans to introduce AR glasses after the VR headset — possibly years later. And Apple sees the augmented-reality device as more important, and one that could become the company’s next huge breakout product.