The Apple VR/AR headset has once again been tipped to launch this year, now with Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman noting that a spring launch is on the cards.
Gurman's tip comes via his ‘Power on’ (opens in new tab) newsletter, where the reporter claims that the focus on a virtual/augmented reality headset means Apple will have less focus on the MacBooks and iPads of 2023, which are set to get only minor refreshes.
Apple's entry into the VR space has long been touted, but it has yet to break into the growing niche market with its own headset. Apple's iPhones support augmented reality, but mostly though third-party apps.
But if Apple does indeed finally come out with a VR/AR headset it could disrupt the market and bring both reality-bending bits of technology more into the mainstream; such is Cupertino's clout. And with Apple's developer ecosystem we could then see all manner of interesting VR/AR apps.
MacBooks and iPads on the backburner for 2023
According to Gurman, the next major iPad refresh we can expect is likely to be in the first half of 2024, with the launch of OLED 11-inch and 13-inch models. However, he added that we may see new versions of the entry-level iPad, iPad mini and iPad Air with minor spec improvements. The Apple Watch is also tipped to get, at most, a minor spec bump, and previous rumors have suggested the Apple Watch Ultra will get a larger update next year.
As for the AirPods line-up, we may see the AirPods Max 2 arrive, but that’s about it. Rumors that a lighter and more affordable pair of Apple’s headphones will launch is another matter entirely.
According to Gurman Apple has no plans to launch a new Apple TV in 2023, which is probably a good thing. The Apple TV 2022 is already one of the best streaming devices, though it wasn’t a huge upgrade over the 2021 model. There’s simply no need to upgrade for the third year running. The larger-sized HomePod may make a comeback, but Gurman says that he’s not expecting anything “revolutionary."
Finally, there's the refreshed MacBook Pro range, which is expected to arrive in the first half of 2023. According to Gurman, these machines will have the same design and features as the current models, but will come packing the M2 Pro and M2 Max chips. Though Gurman does claim that a larger iMac Pro and a 15-inch MacBook Air could arrive this year as well.
Of course, we’ve heard plenty about the iPhone 15 already, and not even the VR/AR headset can get in the way of Apple’s annual upgrade cycle. That said, Gurman notes that iOS 17 and macOS 14 may be losing some new features as a result of Apple’s focus on the headset.
It’s disappointing news for anyone hoping for major upgrades to arrive in 2023, but at least there should be some new products on the way. Plus, given how long we’ve been hearing rumors about the Apple VR/AR headset, the sooner it actually arrives the better. If only because it's supposed to be the next step on the road to Apple Glasses — a standalone AR device condensed into an ordinary pair of spectacles.