Apple Reality Pro headset debut now tipped for June — why that news worries some

apple vr and mixed reality headset fan render side view
(Image credit: Ian Zelbo)

Apple's Reality Pro VR headset is expected to debut at some point this year, and we may have just gotten a better idea as to when. But the reported reason for that particular date makes us a little bit nervous about the prospects for this long-rumored Apple VR/AR headset.

The forecasted date comes from the usually reliable Mark Gurman of Bloomberg, who reports that Apple could be planning to show off the Reality Pro VR headset in June as part of the Worldwide Developers Conference. Previously Gurman had been pointing to a spring event for the headset's debut, so this new June date would reflect a delayed release.

It's the rumored reason for the delay that should make Aple fans a little nervous about the VR/AR headset. Gurman reports that the introduction of the headset is being pushed back "after product testing showed that both hardware and software issues still needed to be ironed out." That explanation comes from "people familiar with the matter," Gurman says.

Certainly, it's understandable why Apple would want to make a good first impression with the Reality Pro VR headset, the first time Apple's launched a major new product in an entirely new category since 2015's Apple Watch debut. Nevertheless, if Apple is serious about showing off a headset in the coming months, it's a little alarming to hear reports that hardware and software issues are significant enough to delay even a preview of the device, let alone its eventual launch, which is expected before the end of the year.

It's worth noting that any timeline related to the Reality Pro VR headset's launch comes entirely from anonymous sources and leaks. Apple has yet to even confirm that it's working on such a product, let alone divulge any release plans. It could end up that June's Worldwide Developer Conference arrives without any hint of a VR/AR headset, though Gurman's track record on Apple rumors is very solid.

And given the amount of details that have leaked about the Reality Pro VR headset, there's every reason to believe the device is fairly far along in development. According to rumors, Apple is working on a VR headset along the lines of the Meta Quest Pro that also includes mixed reality functionality via exterior cameras and sensors. The device will be powered by new Apple software, apparently called xrOS, with controls powered by hand- and eye-tracking.

Expect to pay up for this rumored device. Some price estimates have Apple's Reality Pro VR headset costing $3,000. That's HoloLens 2-level pricing.

Even if it's the result of a delays, a June announcement during Apple's annual developer conference seems appropriate for any new Apple headset. The Reality Pro VR experience will likely hinge heavily on apps, and giving app makers a first-hand look could mean more titles available when Apple's headset is finally ready to go on sale.

Expect more details about Apple's headset plans to leak out between now and June — especially as Apple works to resolve any issues that are reportedly pushing back the Reality Pro VR announcement until then.

Philip Michaels

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.