Apple is reportedly developing a mixed-reality headset, but development delays have pushed back the expected release date. According to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the headset was originally scheduled for release in the second quarter of 2023, but will now likely be shipped at the end of the second quarter or in the third quarter of the year.
As a result, it is increasingly unlikely that Apple will hold a media event for the new device in January. At this point, it seems more likely that Apple will announce the AR/MR headset at a spring media event or WWDC based on the current development progress.
— 郭明錤 (Ming-Chi Kuo) (@mingchikuo) January 6, 2023
Kuo also predicts that it is now “more likely” that the headset will be introduced at a spring media event or at WWDC in June, rather than at a January event as previously expected. The delays are said to be due to issues with mechanical drop testing and the availability of software development tools.
The headset is expected to have a number of features, including a Digital Crown-like dial for transitioning between virtual and physical view modes, and potentially a waist-mounted battery pack. According to a report from The Information, the Apple mixed reality headset is expected to include:
- A waist-mounted battery pack, which will be connected to the headset via a magnetic, wireless connection.
- Digital Crown-like dial for transitioning between virtual and physical view modes.
A high-resolution display that will provide a wide field of view.
- Hand tracking capabilities, allowing users to interact with virtual objects using their hands.
- Eye tracking technology, which could be used for foveated rendering (a technique that reduces the rendering workload by only fully rendering the portion of the image that the user is looking at).
- A custom Apple processor, designed specifically for the headset.
- An advanced cooling system to prevent overheating.
- The ability to connect to a Mac or an iPhone to access content and use apps.
It is important to note that these features are currently just rumours and have not been officially confirmed by Apple.
The mass shipment of the headset is expected to be lower than initially expected, with a forecast of less than 500,000 units shipped in 2023, compared to the initial market consensus of 800,000-1.2 million units.