Apple is still planning to introduce its first mixed reality headset this year, but an even more important next product, lightweight augmented reality glasses, has been delayed due to technical issues.
Bloomberg writes about this, citing informed sources.
The company originally hoped to release augmented reality glasses after the debut of a mixed reality headset that combines both augmented and virtual reality, but that part of the plan has now been put on hold.
Instead, Apple will release a cheaper version of the mixed reality headset as early as 2024 or early 2025, the sources say.
“The change in plans highlights the challenges Apple faces as it moves into a new industry. The company is betting that augmented reality and virtual reality devices can be a major revenue driver, but the technical challenges associated with producing a consumer-friendly product haunt more parts of the technological world.
Apple’s original dream of offering lightweight augmented reality glasses that people could wear all day now seems years away – if that ever happens,” the agency acknowledges.
VR headsets – a market now dominated by Facebook owner Meta Platforms – offer a deeper immersive experience, and people typically use them for playing video games, chatting in virtual rooms and watching videos.
In contrast, augmented reality glasses superimpose visual effects and information on the real world. It is hoped that users will be able to wear such glasses in everyday life, but previous attempts to implement this concept – such as Google Glass – have not gained popularity, recalls Bloomberg.
The high cost could also make Apple’s headset more of a niche product. The initial mixed reality device, due to be unveiled this year, will cost around $3,000.
The high price is due to the use of modern high-resolution displays, more than 10 cameras, sensors that determine where the user is looking, as well as a Mac-class M2 processor and a special chip for processing AR and VR visual effects.
An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment on the company’s plans. Earlier Tuesday, Apple launched new Macs with M2 chips as part of its first product launch in 2023.