Apple pushes back mass production of its Mixed-Reality headset

Mar 31, 2023

Apple could already be facing some problems with its plans to launch its Mixed-Reality headset. Ming-Chi Kuo, a reliable Apple analyst, says that the Cupertino company has pushed back the mass production of the device.

This isn't particularly new, the headset has been in development for the past 8 years, from 2015. It has been delayed several times, because Apple felt it wasn't ready. According to Kuo, the company is still not optimistic about the product, and whether it could recreate the "iPhone moment".

He raises doubts about whether Apple will unveil its Mixed-Reality headset at WWDC 23, which is set to be held from June 5 to 9. The device was expected to enter mass production for assembly soon, but the schedule has reportedly been pushed back by 1 or 2 months. It will enter mass production in the middle or late end of the 3rd quarter of the year.

One of the reasons for delaying the mass production is the shipment forecast, which is about 200,000 to 300,000 units. This is considerably lower than the market consensus, which expected around 500,000 units or more.

Apple concerned about its Mixed-Reality headset

Apple is reportedly not happy with some hardware specifications, such as the weight of the device. The Mixed-Reality headset, which could reportedly be called the Reality Pro headset, is said to be powered by an M2 Apple Silicon chip, and sports 4K micro-LED displays for delivering the video. It will feature several external cameras to provide an enhanced virtual reality and augmented reality experience of the surrounding environment. The device is said to run on a new operating system, called xrOS, and will require an external battery to power the headset.

The device has been rumored to cost around $3,000, which is quite expensive, even for a 1st-gen product. But, Kuo says that Apple could price it at around $3,000 to $4,000, or even higher, and that this may cause problems during the current economic downturn. The availability of a proper ecosystem, aka xrOS and apps for it, also poses another puzzle for the company to solve.

There are doubts among Apple employees whether the headset could have a real impact among users. Several of the company's executives are uncertain about the device's utility, and are as such worried about the headset's launch, which is a first for the company.  The price tag is also viewed as a hurdle, as many believe the headset could be well out of the budget for most users. The headset is said to sport a ski goggles design with a carbon fiber frame. Because of this, it won't fit over glasses, which can be an issue if you don't wear contacts. So Apple is planning on selling prescription lenses for the displays.

Apple is wary of the failure of similar devices that were launched by its rivals over the past years, including Microsoft’s HoloLens, Google Glass, and Meta's Quest Pro. It doesn't want to make the same mistakes, considering that it cost those companies millions of dollars in losses. Rival firm, HTC, said that it was not worried about Apple entering the virtual reality market.

Apple pushes back mass production of its Mixed-Reality headset
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Apple pushes back mass production of its Mixed-Reality headset
Apple has reportedly pushed back the mass production of its Mixed-Reality headset.
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