Apple’s rumored mixed-reality (MR) headset has seen some interesting development in recent days, from details on its powerful chip setup to the possibility of using three immersive displays. But today, there’s some bad news: We may have to wait long enough to actually buy one.
According to Bloomberg reporter Mark GurmanApple is considering pushing back the launch of the headset by a few months due to several ongoing issues. This could delay its announcement until late 2022 or beyond, with the headset potentially not actually launching until 2023. This is the latest in a list of problems and holdups to plague the device.
Apple’s first VR/AR headset risks being delayed until 2023 and a planned unveiling at WWDC 2022 could be pushed back following setbacks from overheating, camera and software-related developments. The company is still building support into iOS 16 and several other details: https://t.co/CF5qyluzLE
— Mark Gurman (@markgurman) 14 January 2022
There are many reasons for this shock, says Gurman. One is related to the device’s overheating, which is perhaps surprising considering that it is rumored to use a dual-chip setup that rivals the MacBook Pro in terms of power. Juice so close to the user’s head must be carefully managed to avoid discomfort, and apparently Apple isn’t quite there yet.
According to Gurman, that’s not the only problem Apple has faced. The company is also battling unspecified problems related to the headset’s cameras and software (code-named ROS, with the “R” probably short for “reality”). Several developers on the project have also been reportedly swayed by Meta, which is reportedly working on its own MR headset for a future release.
A preview at WWDC 2022?
Gurman says Apple intended to announce its headset at this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), with a release date set for later in the year. This is now in doubt, with Apple apparently informing its suppliers that the device will not be ready until 2023.
Instead, Apple could make its headset the focus of its 2023 WWDC show instead of this year’s event. Whenever that happens, the idea is to get developers used to the ROS ecosystem and build apps for mixed-reality headsets. There will also be an app store for the headset, Gurman says, which developers will need to prepare for. And Gurman claims that Apple is building support for the headset into iOS 16, which will be previewed at this year’s WWDC in June 2022.
That means there’s a chance Apple could be teasing some aspects of its headset — perhaps what apps will be able to do on rOS, for example — without fully unveiling the device. It seems plausible if a 2022 release date is still in the cards. But if Apple has to wait until 2023, Apple CEO Tim Cook and company may not want to wait so long between revealing the headset’s capabilities and putting the device on sale, lest it give Apple’s rivals the idea. Give.
If anything, Apple’s headset may be one of its most important new devices since the Apple Watch. Let’s hope we don’t have to wait too long to see it.