Apple’s AR/VR headset will arrive in January 2023, analysts say

Enlarge / A first demo of augmented reality by Apple, using a smartphone instead of a headset.

Tech industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has offered the most accurate prediction for a release date for an Apple augmented reality/virtual reality headset: January 2023.

Kuo has often made accurate and informed predictions about Apple’s plans in the past, based in part on information from sources in the company’s supply chain. On Thursday, he published a lengthy analysis of the VR headset industry and predicted that Apple’s device will “probably” arrive in January.

Kuo called the headset “the most complicated product Apple has ever designed”, noting that many of Apple’s current suppliers are involved in the product’s supply chain. He also backed up other recent leaks and speculation that the upcoming headset won’t be exclusively or primarily focused on augmented reality (which places virtual options in real-world space) rather than virtual reality (which plunges the wearer into an entirely virtual space).

Kuo echoed other recent reports and noted that the device will support “video transmission” and allow switching between modes. Thus, he predicted that the headset would be a boon to the immersive gaming industry.

The analysis didn’t focus exclusively on Apple’s headsets and covered other parts of the VR/AR industry. He pointed to several weaknesses in the mixed reality sector at Meta (which owns Oculus headsets, as well as Facebook and Instagram). He wrote that Meta was slowing down its investments, creating an opportunity for future competitors like Apple. He further suggested that Meta’s practice of selling VR headsets at a loss is unsustainable, a fact that could contribute to Apple’s opportunity.

Reports from Bloomberg and other reliable sources have previously claimed that Apple is in the final stages of testing and preparing for the device, naming a wider release window for 2023.

Additionally, earlier this week, Apple CEO Tim Cook stoked speculation about an AR/VR headset in an interview with China Daily United States:

I’m incredibly excited about AR, as you may know. And the main thing for any technology, including AR, is to put humanity at the center of it… But I think we are still at the very beginning of the evolution of this technology . I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunities we’ve seen in this space, and stay tuned and you’ll see what we have to offer.

A series of insider stories from The Information last month painted a picture of the device’s development, saying it has seen several evolutions as Apple’s management internally debated the best way forward. . According to the report, a standalone, portable concept that uses a variant of the M2 chip recently shipped by Apple won over a more powerful device that would have required a base station.

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