Excitement surrounding an upcoming Apple AR/VR headset isn’t going to let up, and now one of the top Apple analysts in the industry has weighed in that the device could be unveiled as early as January 2023.
In an industry note from 9to5Mac (opens in new tab)the normally reliable Ming-Chi Kuo has predicted that the new hardware will be “likely” announced in January 2023 – but he also says it may not be sold to consumers at the same time.
There was talk that the headset would see the light of day sometime in 2022, although more recent rumors had predicted a 2023 launch as Apple continues to refine the technology and make it fit for a full launch.
The most complicated Apple product ever
In his note, Kuo describes the AR/VR headset as “the most complicated product Apple has ever made” and a “game changer for the headset industry.” There’s also confirmation that Meta could start spending less on virtual reality hardware.
“Although Apple has repeatedly affirmed its focus on AR, I believe that Apple AR/MR that supports video see-through could also provide an excellent immersive experience,” says Kuo (opens in new tab). “Therefore, the introduction of Apple AR/MR will further fuel the demand for immersive gaming/multimedia entertainment.”
Earlier this week, Apple CEO Tim Cook said he “couldn’t be more excited about the possibilities” in augmented reality and virtual reality and that any future products should “put humanity at the center” in order to be successful.
Analysis: What we think we know so far
Apple executives have long talked about the possibilities offered by augmented reality, or AR, which overlays digital graphics on the real world. Rumor has it that Apple is currently working on lightweight AR glasses.
At the same time, a better-equipped (and more expensive) device is said to be in the pipeline, which Ming-Chi Kuo talks about here. It apparently combines AR with virtual reality or VR – digital worlds that are more or less fully enclosed, like we’ve seen with hardware like the Oculus Quest 2.
Sometimes referred to as mixed reality or MR, this combination of AR and VR seems destined for Apple’s next big launch. Rumor has it that it will run on the same M1 chips found in Apple’s laptops and tablets and that it will be based on a new software platform called realityOS.
From what we’ve heard it’s shaping up to be a premium device and will come with a premium price tag: maybe something in the region of $3,000 (about £2,450 / AU$4,320). We may not have to wait too long to find out.