Apple’s mixed reality headset appears to be moving from the realm of rumors to a real product that you can go out and buy: mass production of the device is said to begin in March 2023.
This is according to DigiTimes (Opens in a new tab) (via MacRumors (Opens in a new tab)), as Pegatron is said to be the manufacturing partner for this particular piece of hardware. The unveiling may then take place in April 2023, according to the report based on internal sources.
The initial production run is said to be relatively low, with less than a million units being manufactured initially. The report also noted the high price of the headset, stating that it will be aimed at “commercial markets” when it is finally launched.
Choose your reality
DigiTimes refers to the device as an “extended reality” or “XR” headset. It will combine both virtual reality (VR), which means completely closed virtual worlds, and augmented reality (AR), which are digital elements superimposed in the real world.
Another term for this type of mixed AR/VR is mixed reality, although different companies tend to use different terms. Something like the Microsoft HoloLens 2 might give us the best idea of exactly what Apple is about to reveal.
It looks as though there may be futuristic AR/VR devices in the future, but the first one is set to be an expensive piece of hardware that won’t necessarily be readily available to consumers.
Analysis: What we think we know so far
It appears that there are two different devices in development at the moment: a VR or mixed reality headset, and a lightweight AR-based Apple Glasses, which is probably similar to Google Glass in terms of design and functionality.
At this point, it’s surprising that Apple’s glasses haven’t come out. It’s widely tipped to come out in 2022, but as we near the end of the year, there’s been no indication. Now it looks like a mixed reality headset will be the first product to come out.
Everything we’ve heard so far indicates that the mixed reality headset will be packed with premium parts and accessories at a high price point. We’ve been hearing rumors of an OLED screen, and apparently user authentication will be handled via an iris scanning system.
What we do know for sure is that Apple chief Tim Cook is very interested in AR and VR technology, suggesting that it’s only a matter of time before we see products in these categories start appearing — starting in 2023.