Apple to delay AR glasses and focus on mixed reality headset

Don't expect Apple augmented reality glasses anytime soon, but keep your fingers crossed to see an Apple mixed reality headset in 2023 and buy one in 2024.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer
woman wearing VR headset in front of a pink purple gradient background

Apple is still expected to release a mixed reality headset this year, but technical issues have forced the tech giant to shelve plans for the perhaps more important lightweight augmented reality glasses that were expected later. 

Bloomberg on Tuesday reported that Apple had indefinitely delayed work on the long-rumored AR glasses and pared back the scope of the project. Apple will instead target 2024 for the release of its lower-cost -- but still likely expensive -- mixed reality headset. 

While the mixed-reality headset is expected to cost around $3,000, Bloomberg reports Apple is planning to follow up with a lower cost mixed reality headset priced around $1,500. 

Apple-focused supply chain analyst Ming-Chi Kuo in December estimated Apple would ship its mixed reality headset in the second half of 2023 rather than the second quarter, citing software-related issues for the delay. 

Also: Apple's VR/AR headset is coming. Here's everything we know so far

The mixed reality headset combines elements of augment reality and virtual reality, with components including eyeball tracking, multiple cameras, pancake optics, and lenses. AR users see the world through a lens that is overlaid with digital images and data. VR on the other hand, such as Meta's Oculus, encloses users in a digital world.   

The lightweight AR kit is more like traditional glasses -- and is smaller and more complex to manufacturer.       

Per Mark Gurman's Power On newsletter, Apple had until recently planned to unveil the headset this month, but has pushed back the event to its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June. But there was also speculation last year that Apple could take the wraps off the headset at WWDC 2022

Apple has applied for various AR/VR-related trademarks, including "RealityOS", "Reality One", "Reality Pro", and "Reality Processor". The OS is likely to be called xrOS, while the device would be called the Reality Pro. XR stands for eXtended Reality. Apple execs have shunned the word 'metaverse'. 

The headset is said to run on an Apple Mac M2 chip, feature at least 10 cameras outside and inside the device, and have very high-resolution displays.  

Apple has integrated AR features into the iPhone for years, but the AR headset will be significant as it becomes the iPhone maker's first new hardware category since launching Apple Watch in 2015. 

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