Tim Cook approves AR headset's 2023 launch, despite Apple designers' opposition

Tim Cook approves AR headset’s 2023 launch despite opposition from Apple design team


Apple mixed reality headset
Apple engineers are under pressure to ship the AR headset this year.
Image: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Apple CEO Tim Cook reportedly sided with COO Jeff Williams to launch the company’s AR/VR headset this year, despite the fact that Cupertino’s design team wanted to wait a few more years to launch a sleeker pair of AR glasses.

The headset’s launch time frame has been a point of contention inside Apple. Until 2019, when Jony Ive led the design deapartment, it was unimaginable to go against his team’s wishes.

Apple’s design team wanted to push back the headset’s launch

Apple’s AR/VR headset has been in development for seven years — twice as long as the iPhone. Its launch has been delayed year after year, causing tensions inside the company.

Reportedly, Apple’s operations team wanted to launch a version of the headset with a ski goggle-like design. It would have allowed users to watch 3D videos, chat with realistic avatars on FaceTime calls, and do interactive workouts. But the design team pushed back on its release.

The designers want to launch a lightweight version of the AR glasses. However, this will take time as the technology is still not ready. But with Ive no longer in charge of Apple’s design operations, the team does not enjoy the same powers as before.

A Financial Times report reveals that Cook sided with Williams and pressed ahead with the headset’s launch, which reportedly will happen this year. This was despite objections from the design team. Seemingly, designers and engineers inside the company are under huge pressure to ship the headset.

Apple reportedly planned to launch the sleeker AR glasses in 2025. But that’s no longer the case. The company is now focusing on devising a cheaper version of its AR/VR headset to attract more customers.

Don’t expect Apple headset to set the sales chart on fire

Apple only expects to sell around a million units of its headsets in the first year. This won’t be surprising because the device is expected to cost as much as $3,000. However, the company plans a massive marketing blitz surrounding the product to generate hype.

Apple has traditionally been slow when it enters a new product category. The original Apple Watch was nowhere as good as later generations. Apple continued working on the wearable despite less-than-favorable initial reviews to make it the killer iPhone accessory that it is today.

With the AR/VR headset, Apple is planning something similar. The company wants to get developers on board the train first. As they build more AR/VR apps and unlock new use cases, they could attract more consumers to the platform.


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