The much-leaked Apple AR/VR headset won’t see the light of day until 2023, according to a new report citing “people familiar” with the project, meaning we won’t see it unveiled at the WWDC 2022 event this coming Monday. fair.
And the New York Times (opens in new tab) which has the report, saying the device – “a headset that blends the digital world with the real” – is now slated for release next year after “continuous challenges” with battery power ended any chance of a revelation in 2022.
The headset will apparently combine augmented reality (digital graphics on top of the real world) and virtual reality (fully enclosed digital worlds), and has been described as a mixed reality device. Think part Oculus Quest, part HoloLens.
There are a few more details to be revealed in this latest New York Times article. He says Hollywood directors including Jon Favreau (who directed films like Iron Man and the 2019 version of The Lion King) are being hired by Apple to develop video content for the new hardware.
Favreau is an executive producer on the Prehistoric Planet series that recently appeared on Apple TV Plus, so he already has a relationship with Apple. It looks like there will at least be some content available for the headset when it sees the light of day.
What we’ll have at WWDC 2022 next week are new tools for developers to add extra camera and voice functionality to their projects, paving the way for more hands-free control of apps. There were rumors that the next device could use 3D hand tracking as an input system.
Analysis: Apple will take time
When the trademarks of a realityOS software platform surfaced last week, we dared to hope that Apple was about to unveil its AR/VR headset at the Worldwide Developers Conference, which begins June 6th. A release next week would be surprising, but not entirely out of the question.
It now seems very unlikely that we will see the new hardware, even if it has already been showcased for Apple’s board. What we can get at WWDC 2022 is a few glimpses of the software without any sort of hardware reveal – it’s a developer conference after all, and that would mean app makers could work on apps for the headset.
What we do know from Apple’s history is that it often likes to spend time on products, whether it’s foldable phones or smartwatches. While it’s not always the first to market products, when Apple introduces something into a new market category, it usually becomes one of the best options almost immediately.
It seems to be the same story here. We already have plenty of VR and AR devices on sale, of course, with much more in the pipeline – and there are constant reminders of the potential of the metaverse. Apple won’t rush to release a headset until it’s completely satisfied with the hardware and software.