Apple VR/AR headset reportedly launching this year against wishes of design team
The Apple VR/AR headset has suffered a lot of delays, according to rumors, but the latest batch claim it’s set to arrive later this year. But that might not have happened, according to The Financial Times, had Apple executives not overruled the design team.
Financial Times’ report claims that Apple’s industrial design team warned against releasing the headset — claiming it wasn’t ready. Evidently they wanted to wait until more “lightweight AR glasses became technically feasible.” However, these concerns were reportedly overruled by Apple operations chief Jeff Williams and CEO Tim Cook.
Sources speaking to FT claimed that there was “huge pressure to ship” the mixed reality headset, rumored to be called Apple Reality Pro. Instead the industrial design team “have been postponing the launch each year for the past [few] years”. Apparently to allow technology to catch up with their vision.
The headset has apparently been in development for seven years already, with production kicking off in 2016, and the timing of the launch has reportedly been a topic of contention in the years since. This time, however, the design team was reportedly overruled and rumors point to the headset being unveiled at WWDC 2023 (opens in new tab) in June.
Apple VR/AR headset: Is Apple right to push ahead with launch?
I can understand why the design team would want to make sure their product was perfect, but at the same time their goals do come across as pretty unrealistic. The idea of launching lightweight AR glasses is still a long way off, and reports suggest Apple itself has pushed development of Apple Glasses onto the backburner.
Not to mention the fact that the Reality Pro headset sounds like a very different product than the long-rumored Apple Glasses. It’s a product that offers pass-through AR, but is still capable of traditional virtual reality experiences. It’s also something that’s possible to do with current technology, as shown by the increasing number of competing devices — including the Meta Quest Pro and HTC Vive XR Elite.