Apple's AR/VR headset could debut at January 2023 event | Cult of Mac

Apple’s AR/VR headset could debut at January media event

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Apple VR/AR headset takes big step toward production
Lockdown in China has affected the development of Apple's AR/VR headset
Concept: Martin Hajek/Computer Bild

Supply chain analyst Ming-Chi Kuo thinks Apple’s AR/VR headset won’t ship until the second quarter of 2023 due to delays caused by COVID-19 lockdowns in China.

Apple made no mention of its long-rumored AR headset, or the realityOS platform upon which it reportedly will operate, during Monday’s WWDC22 keynote — as predicted by Kuo himself. However, the company could announce the headset at a special media event next January, according to the analyst.

Apple’s AR/VR headset is not coming this year

In a Twitter thread late Monday, Kuo said the Apple AR/VR headset’s engineering validation test will start in Q3 this year. Following this, Apple would hold a media event in January 2023 to showcase the device, Kuo predicted.

Apple then would ship out the development toolkit to software makers within two to four weeks. This would give devs time to create a library of apps, games and experiences in time for the headset’s launch.

For consumers, preorders could start sometime in Q2 2023. The AR/VR headset could finally hit stores before the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in 2023.

Kuo thinks the lockdown in Shanghai slowed down the headset’s development. This caused the device’s launch timeline to slip from the first quarter of 2023 to the second. He previously pointed out that if Apple announced its AR/VR headset and realityOS at WWDC22, it would give competitors plenty of time to rush out “copycat projects.”

Further delays for Apple’s AR/VR headset launch?

With the device still in development, its launch timeline might slip further due to unforeseen delays and circumstances. So, in many ways, it makes sense that Apple did not even talk about its AR/VR headset during WWDC22’s opening keynote.

The company’s supply chain has been disrupted by the lockdown in Shanghai and China’s strict zero-COVID policy. Reports indicated the M2 MacBook Pro launch would be delayed for the same reason, but it made a surprise appearance at the event.

At this point, though, it is no secret that Apple is working on an AR/VR headset. The company reportedly demoed the device to its board of directors recently. So, it is only a matter of time before the headset makes its public debut.