Apple is expected to launch its first mixed-reality headset at the WWDC in June, but a new report claims that some within the company are not convinced that the product is ready for prime time. Apple’s first mixed-reality headset is expected to be a costly device aimed at professionals and developers, but reports suggest that the company is also working on a more affordable alternative meant for consumers. However, the second device is only rumored to be launched in 2024 or early 2025.
According to Financial Times, Apple is going ahead with the launch of its mixed-reality headset despite objections from the company’s industrial design team. As per the report, Apple’s operations team wanted to go ahead with the launch this year, even though the design team wanted Cook to wait longer for the design to be refined before its commercial launch. However, according to senior Apple insiders, the company was under “huge pressure” to ship the device this year, having postponed it multiple times in the past. Eventually, Cook agreed with operations chief Jeff Williams and gave the green light for a WWDC 2023 launch.
Apple’s AR/VR Headset Will Be A Niche Product
With the big reveal rumored to be happening this summer, there are concerns that Apple could be rushing the launch to cash in on the metaverse/VR buzz rather than waiting until the product is ready. As things stand, the headset could resemble bulky ski-goggles, while Apple’s design team wanted Cook to delay the launch “until a more lightweight version of AR glasses became technically feasible.” That, however, is expected to take several years, which could result in billions of dollars in lost revenues for Apple.
Apart from the fact that it could be a half-baked and unwieldy product, Apple’s first-gen mixed-reality headset could also be priced too high to make a realistic impact in the market. The device is rumored to be priced at a whopping $3,000, which would make it a niche product meant for a select few. Apple knows this already, and is said to be targeting sales of only a million units in the first 12 months after its launch.
However, some industry insiders believe that even that target might be a stretch. According to Display Supply Chain Consultants (DSCC) CEO and Apple insider Ross Young, even one million units would be “much too high” a target, considering the astronomical price point. If the rumored price turns out to be accurate, that would make Apple’s upcoming headset three times as expensive as the Meta Quest Pro, which was launched at $1,500 last year, but now costs $1,000 after receiving a $500 price cut in early March.
Apple is known for its attention to detail and a resolute focus on design, but if the FT report is correct, the upcoming headset could be a significant departure from the norm. While no one expects Apple to ship millions of units of its first-gen MR headset, the opinion of early adopters and experts will be crucial in determining its success (or failure) in the market.
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Source: Financial Times