Apple's heavily leaked 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 revealed at WWDC 2022 next Monday.
It's The New York Times (opens in a new tab) that has the report, saying the device, "a headset that blends the digital world with the real world," will now launch next year, after "ongoing challenges." with battery. power ended any chance of a 2022 reveal.
The headset will apparently combine both augmented reality (digital graphics over the real world) and virtual reality (completely closed digital worlds), and has been described as a mixed reality device. Consider both the Oculus Quest and HoloLens.
There are a few more details to discover in this latest New York Times article. It says that Hollywood directors, including Jon Favreau (who has directed films like Iron Man and the 2019 version of The Lion King) are being selected by Apple to develop video content for the new material.
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 launches.
What we'll have at WWDC 2022 next week are new tools for developers to add additional camera and voice features to their projects, paving the way for more hands-free app control. There have been rumors that the upcoming device may use 3D hand tracking as its input system.
Analysis: Apple will take its time
When the markings of a realityOS software platform surfaced last week, we ventured to hope that Apple could be about to unveil its AR/VR headset at the Worldwide Developers Conference, which begins June 6. A release next week would have been surprising, but not entirely out of the question.
Now, it seems highly unlikely that we'll see the new hardware, even though it's already been presented to Apple's board of directors. What we might get at WWDC 2022 is some software previews without any hardware reveals: it's a developer conference, after all, and that would mean app creators could get to work on apps for the headset.
What we know from Apple's history is that it often likes to take its time with products, whether they're foldable phones or smartwatches. While it's not always first to market, when Apple introduces something in a new market category, it usually becomes a top choice almost immediately.
Seems like it's the same story here. We already have plenty of VR and AR devices on sale, of course, with many more in the works, and there are constant reminders of the potential of the Metaverse. Apple won't rush to release a headset until it's fully satisfied with the hardware and software.