Apple Headset Launch Delayed Once Again According to a Reuters Report
Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman is reporting that Apple has once again postponed the launch of its mixed reality headset, pushing the date back by two months.
Apple initially planned to introduce the mixed reality headset, its first, in April. The unveiling has now been pushed back to June, Gurman reports, citing people familiar with the matter. The Apple headset has faced a number of setbacks over the years, characterized y various postponements.
Apple is now planning to introduce the AR/VR headset at its annual Worldwide Developer Conference that takes place in June.
The Bloomberg report states that Apple decided on the postponements after performing product tests that showed the device still has hardware and software issues that have to be fixed.
In December 2022, supply-chain analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed that Apple would delay the unveiling of the headset. The Gurman report now confirms those claims.
My latest survey indicates that the mass shipment schedule of Apple's MR headset may delay to 2H23 because of software-related issues (vs. the previous estimate of 2Q23).
— 郭明錤 (Ming-Chi Kuo) (@mingchikuo) December 4, 2022
In his December note, Kuo attributed the delay to ”software-related issues.” Gurman, on the other hand, writes about “issues with sensors on the device to enable the hand and eye control mechanism.”
Gurman wrote an article three weeks ago talking of the headset featuring a combination of eye tracking and finger pinching as its primary control mechanisms, as well as Siri voice commands.
This is just the latest of the headset’s many delays. The headset was initially scheduled to ship in 2022 according to a 2019 The Information report. The Information report was backed by further reports by Gurman and Ming-Chi Kuo.
However, a Gurman report in January 2022 stated that the headset’s release had been delayed to 2023 as a result of “challenges related to overheating, cameras, and software.”
The Information published a detailed investigative report last year on the troubled development of the headset along with its shifting form factor. The report detailed the evolution of the headset from its beginnings as a thin client that is paired with a wireless console to a fully standalone device that is covered with sensors along with an external display that shows the wearer’s eyes. The Information report also hinted at the Apple mixed reality headset project grappling with problems associated with “overengineering, too complicated solutions” as a result of poor planning.
An Apple-linked shell company filed a patent in August 2022 for ‘Reality One’, ‘Reality Pro’, and ‘Reality Processor’, hinting at the headset and the processor being branded as Apple Reality.
In another previous report, Gurman said that Apple was developing a virtual reality client for FaceTime that features face tracking for driving avatars, along with a virtual reality version of Maps, the spatial versions of Calendar and Notes, the ability to view the display of a Mac in-headset as well as the AR/VR tools and developers.
Previous reports by Gurman and The Information also claimed that the headset would cost about $3,000.
Kuo also published an article claiming that the headset’s weight will be noticeably less than that of the current virtual reality headsets. It will also have high-resolution OLED microdislays. A report by The Information also claimed that the Apple headset is powered by the M2 chip, the same one used in the latest versions of MacBooks, and that the headset also features face tracking, eye tracking, and hand tracking. The report said the headset also features iris-scanning functionality for payments and logins.
Should these series of reports prove accurate, the Apple mixed reality headset will be a market-leading product with better resolution, more features, a more powerful processor, and a design that is slimmer than that of Meta’s pro-focused headset, Meta Quest Pro. However, all these features will come with a higher price tag.
A successor to the Meta Quest Pro headset is set to be released in 2024. It is, therefore, likely that in its lifecycle, the Apple mixed reality headset will compete against the Quest Pro 2 which could also feature a new chip and OLED microdisplays.