Apple’s mixed reality (MR) headset is rumored to have seen some interesting developments in recent days, from details about its powerful chip configuration to the likelihood that it will use three immersive displays. But today there is bad news: we could have a long wait to buy one.
According to Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman, Apple is considering pushing back the launch of the headphones for a few months due to a number of ongoing issues. That could delay its announcement until late 2022 or beyond, with the headset potentially not launching until 2023. This is just the latest in a litany of issues and delays to have plagued the device.
Apple’s first VR/AR headset is likely to be delayed until 2023 and a planned WWDC 2022 unveiling could be pushed back after development issues with overheating, cameras and software. The company is still developing support for iOS 16 and many other details: https://t.co/CF5qyluzLE
—Mark Gurman (@markgurman) January 14, 2022
There are many reasons for this setback, Gurman says. One has to do with the device overheating, which is perhaps unsurprising considering it’s rumored to use a dual-chip setup that rivals the MacBook Pro in terms of power. All that juice so close to a user’s head has to be carefully managed to avoid discomfort, and apparently Apple isn’t quite there yet.
That’s not the only problem Apple has had, according to Gurman. The company is also struggling with unspecified issues with the cameras and headset software (codename rOS, with the “r” presumably short for “reality”). Many of the project’s developers were also reportedly drawn to Meta, which would be 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 an expected release date later in the year. That now seems to be in doubt, with Apple apparently telling its suppliers that the device won’t be ready until 2023.
Instead, Apple could make its headphones the focus of its WWDC 2023 show instead of this year’s event. Whenever this happens, the idea is to get developers used to the rOS ecosystem and build apps for the mixed reality headset. There will also be an App Store for the headset, Gurman says, which developers will need to prepare for. And Gurman says Apple is building headphone support into iOS 16, which will premiere at this year’s WWDC in June 2022.
That means it’s possible Apple could tease certain aspects of its headset – perhaps what apps will be able to do on rOS, for example – without fully revealing the device. That seems plausible if a late 2022 release date is still in the cards. But if Apple has to wait until 2023, then Apple CEO Tim Cook and company may not want to wait that long between revealing the headset’s capabilities and the device going on sale, lest that does not give ideas to the rivals of Apple.
Either way, Apple’s headphones could be one of its most important new devices since the Apple Watch. Let’s just hope we don’t have to wait too long to see it.
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