Apple VR/AR headset report just tipped release date for this year

apple mixed reality headset render
(Image credit: Ian Zelbo)

The Apple VR/AR headset might actually arrive this year, contrary to rumors claiming it might have been pushed back to 2023. According to a new report from DigiTimes, the headset may enter volume production in August or September — ready to launch before the end of the year.

The report also claims that Apple has completed second-phase engineering validation and testing (EVT 2). This stage of testing is to ensure prototype headsets meet Apple’s design and specification goals. In other words, it means the VR/AR headset could be one step closer to becoming a reality.

The headset still needs to undergo EVT 3 testing, which is set to begin “soon” and ahead of mass production. DigiTimes also claims that a second generation headset is in the works, with more of a consumer focus than its predecessor. 

Past rumors have claimed that the Apple VR/AR headset is primarily designed as a developer tool. The idea being that app makers can acclimate themselves to working with virtual reality and augmented reality ahead of the eventual Apple Glasses launch. That way the AR specs should have a healthy selection of apps ready for launch day.

DigiTimes’ sources claim that the second gen headset is due in 2023, and will feature a number of consumer-friendly upgrades. That includes improved weight and battery life, and a more consumer-friendly price tag. However, that may come at a cost, with the report claiming the specs of the second headset won’t be as good.

But considering previous rumors claimed the first VR/AR headset could cost anywhere between $1,000 and $3,000, a price reduction is going to be very important. Apple’s brand recognition may be enough to drive some sales, but mass adoption is going to hinge on people actually being able to afford the headset. 

Having the specs take a hit at least means Apple can focus on more important features, like comfort and battery life. Those are arguably more important to ensure people actually want to use the headset regularly.

We’re going to have to wait and see whether this report eventually rings true, which means waiting patiently for launch. But in the wake of reports claiming the Apple VR/AR headset may not arrive in 2022, it’s nice to be told there’s a chance it could arrive before the year is up. Watch this space.

Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.