Apple is “likely” to announce its long-rumored mixed-reality headset as soon as January 2023, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
In a detailed post on Medium, Kuo explained that Apple’s headset will be a “game-changer” for the augmented-reality and virtual-reality market. Describing some of the headset’s functionality, Kuo said that while Apple has repeatedly touched its focus on AR, the headset will “offer an excellent immersive experience” and a “video see-thru” mode. The headset is expected to boost demand for immersive gaming and multimedia entertainment experiences.
Kuo said that the device is “the most complicated product Apple has ever designed,” leading Apple to use components from many of its existing suppliers. Kuo also believes that Apple will be an industry leader in the headset space, has “significant competitive advantages,” and does not need to join the Metaverse Standards Forum. Notably, Kuo thinks that rivals will race to imitate Apple’s headset once it launches, “leading the headset hardware industry to the next stage of rapid growth.”
While Apple’s headset was widely believed to be scheduled to launch this year, a report from Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman cast doubt on the chances of the device emerging this year due to development problems. according to DigiTimes, Apple in February 2022 completed key production tests on the headset and reportedly plans to begin mass production around August or September. Kuo’s prediction of an announcement in January 2023 therefore appears to be broadly in line with other rumors about when the device could emerge.
Regardless of the exact timing, Apple’s headset project is believed to be “approaching liftoff,” with the device mirroring the development timeline of the Apple Watch in the period before its launch. Apple’s work on the headset’s operating system, “realityOS,” has been rumored since 2017, but the existence of the operating system was confirmed when references to it were found in App Store upload logs and Apple open source code.
The headset is rumored to feature a lightweight design, two 4K micro-OLED displays, 15 optical modules, two main processors, Wi-Fi 6E connectivity, eye tracking, object tracking, and hand gesture controls, and more. The device’s approximate price point is as yet unclear, but some reports indicate that it could cost around $3,000.
Update: This article has been edited to reflect an edit made to Kuo’s Medium article. It previously said that Apple’s headset would “likely be released” in January 2023, but this has since been revised to “likely be announced.”