Update: Where the heck is Apple's AR/VR headset?
With Apple making some interesting moves with the trademarking of realityOS, many expect its long-trailed Apple AR/VR headset to make an appearance at WWDC 2022.
We’ll find out tomorrow if that’s the case, but whether or not we see it, The New York Times (opens in new tab) claims that the headset will ship next year, with some help from Hollywood’s heaviest hitters to make it stand out.
The report claims that Apple has got “Hollywood directors such as Jon Favreau” on board to create video for the device. While Favreau is the only person directly namechecked, the report specifically mentions his work on Prehistoric Planet for Apple TV Plus, so it seems likely the company will be leaning on its newly formed streaming connections to build content for the project.
Launching a new product line is always something of a gamble, even for a company with Apple’s seemingly infinite resources, and the journey hasn’t been without its problems, both technical and philosophical.
On the former front, the Times report highlights continued difficulties with battery life as being responsible for the delayed release. On the latter, “at least two members of its industrial design team” have apparently quit Apple due to “concerns about developing a product that might change the way people interact with one another.”
Whether the impact of Apple’s foray into the VR/AR space is that profound remains to be seen, but the company is certainly pinning a lot of hopes on making a splash. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes that it’s Apple’s long-term plan for such headsets to directly replace the iPhone, after all, and that’s not an ambition most would make lightly considering how much money smartphones make for the company.
Will we get a first look at this possible future tomorrow? Perhaps not directly, the report reckons, but we will at least see “software tools that would allow apps to add new camera and voice functionality.” This is apparently the first step towards the “hands-free interface” customers will use when donning the Apple headset.
Bloomberg’s well connected reporter Mark Gurman has also recommended people dampen their expectations as to what we’ll actually see in terms of AR and VR hardware.
“Though Apple's upcoming mixed-reality headset is full steam ahead — underscored by the recent demonstration of the device to the company's board — I'd be wary of expecting a full-blown presentation for developers and consumers next week,” he wrote last week.