The buzz around an upcoming AR/VR headset from Apple won’t go away, and now one of Apple’s top analysts in the business has stepped in to say the device could be unveiled in January 2023.
In an industry note seen by 9to5Mac (opens in new tab)the generally reliable Ming-Chi Kuo has predicted that the new hardware will “probably” be announced in January 2023 – but he also says it may not be on sale to consumers at the same time.
There were rumors that the headset would see the light of day sometime in 2022, although more recent rumors predicted a 2023 launch as Apple continues to refine the technology and make it suitable 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 designed” and a “game changer for the headset industry.” There’s also an acknowledgment that Meta might start spending less on VR hardware.
“While Apple has repeatedly reiterated its focus on AR, I believe Apple AR/MR with see-thru video support can also deliver an excellent immersive experience.” says Kuo (opens in new tab). “Therefore, the launch of Apple AR/MR will further increase the demand for immersive gaming/multimedia entertainment.”
Earlier this week, Apple CEO Tim Cook said he “couldn’t be more excited about the opportunities” in augmented reality and virtual reality, and that any future products must “put humanity at the center” to succeed.
Analysis: What we think we know so far
Apple executives have long talked about the possibilities offered by augmented reality, or AR, which is superimposing digital graphics on the real world. Rumor has it that Apple is busy working on a pair of lightweight AR glasses right now.
At the same time, a more complete (and expensive) device is believed to be in the works, which is what Ming-Chi Kuo is talking about here. It apparently combines AR with virtual reality or VR – digital worlds that are more or less completely closed off, as we’ve seen with hardware like the Oculus Quest 2.
This combination of AR and VR, sometimes called mixed reality or MR, looks set to be Apple’s next big product launch. Rumors are that it will run the same M1 chips that can be 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 attached: perhaps something in the region of $3,000 (about £2,450 / AU$4,320). Maybe we won’t have to wait much longer to find out.