Apple delayed the start of production for its VR/AR headset by a month or two, according to a reliable source of insider information.
This raises questions about where we the mixed-reality device will get its big debut at WWDC23, as is widely expected.
Apple might have delayed VR/AR headset assembly
Apple’s VR/AR headset is the worst-kept secret in tech. A long series of leaks have revealed many of the most important details. It even reportedly showed off the device to 100 high-level Apple executives last week.
What’s not known about the product — apparently called Reality Pro — is when it will be announced. Possibly because Apple itself hasn’t made up its mind.
Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst with TF International Securities said Wednesday via Twitter that “the mass production schedule for assembly has been pushed back by another 1-2 months to mid-to-late 3Q23.”
A crisis of confidence
The delay supposedly isn’t a result of a design or software problem. Kuo says it’s because, “Apple isn’t very optimistic about the AR/MR headset announcement recreating the astounding ‘iPhone moment.'” His comment is a reference to the near immediate success of the iPhone after its debut in 2007.
“The main concerns for Apple not being very optimistic regarding the market feedback to the AR/MR headset announcement include the economic downturn, compromises on some hardware specifications for mass production (such as weight), the readiness of the ecosystem and applications, a high selling price (USD 3,000-4,000 or even higher), etc.,” said Kuo.
A strategic delay?
The analyst says the delay is a reason to be uncertain the mixed-reality headset will launch a Apple’s 2023 Worldwide Developers Conference in June.
But a June announcement followed by a release in the fourth quarter of 2023 wouldn’t be out of character for the company. The original Apple Watch was announced in September 2014 but didn’t reach customers until April 2015 — seven months later.
As with the wearable, third-party software developers will need time to code apps for the new device. The AR/VR headset will supposedly run xrOS, an operating system no one outside of Apple knows anything about.
Apple could unveil the device at WWDC23 and begin teaching devs how to code for it. Then, when the headset launches later in then year, there’ll be third-party software available in its App Store.
That would take care of the Apple concern about “the readiness of the ecosystem and applications” that’s Kuo cited as a reason for the delay.