Apple’s AR Headset Might Be Postponed Until Mid-2023

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Apple CEO Tim Cook
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Notably absent from the WWDC keynote this year was any overt mention of augmented or virtual reality. There were subtle hints sprinkled throughout the keynote—virtual maplive text, and Visual Look Up are new features asking to be integrated into a mixed reality headset—but Apple chose not to use the big event as a springboard for its upcoming platform.

We knew not to expect AR hardware, but some mention of the rumored “realityOS” wasn’t completely out of the question. Apple will, at some point, need to drum up excitement and support from developers, which could happen to some extent during the ongoing WWDC sessions. However, the moment we’re waiting for: Apple revealing to the world its plans for augmented reality, will have to wait.

How long we’ll wait remains a moving target, but one of the most reliable Apple analysts has already chimed in with an updated timeline. Ming-Chi Kuo, in the wake of the WWDC keynote, predicted that Apple’s AR/MR (augmented and mixed reality) headset would be delayed until Q2 of next year, falling a few months behind the original Q1 projection. Kuo says the postponement would be due to lockdowns in China caused by the ongoing pandemic. He previously said Apple wouldn’t want to announce a product so far in advance and give its competitors time to create copies.

Kuo broke down the key dates ahead for Apple’s upcoming AR headset and software platform. Here is Kuo’s proposed schedule:

1. EVT (Engineering Validation and Testing) starting from Q3 2022.

2. Apple event in January 2023.

3. Dev toolkit send two to four weeks later (late February 2023).

4. Pre-orders start in Q2 2023.

5. In-store before WWDC 2023.

If these predictions are accurate, and all goes well on the manufacturing front, then Apple’s mixed reality headset could be available in stores by around this time next year. Keep in mind that while Kuo often cites anonymous sources, these latest predictions appear to be pure speculation. While they align with what other top analysts are saying, you should take these claims with a heavy dose of skepticism.

As for what to expect when the headset does arrive, the product is said to have an “innovative three-display configuration” that combines dual 4K OLED microdisplays with at least six optical modules to provide continuous “video see-through AR services.” It is said to have M1 Pro-level power and could come equipped with 14 built-in cameras for advanced tracking. All of that technology is expected to result in a steep asking price that is currently set at 3,000 real physical dollars.

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