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Apple VR headset now tipped to skip WWDC 2022 — here's why

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

FYI: Here's how to watch WWDC 2022 live stream

A few days ago we heard a rumor that Apple’s long-awaited Apple VR/AR headset could make an appearance at WWDC next week. All because a trademark has been filed for June 8 regarding “realityOS." But according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the headset won’t be making an appearance.

Kuo believes (opens in new tab) that the Apple headset won’t be entering production for “some time” — ahead of a rumored 2023 release. According to Kuo this means the headset and realityOS software aren’t likely to be on show at WWDC 2022. Why? Because that would tip off Apple’s competition and let them copy the company’s ideas for their own products. 

Kuo isn’t alone in this assertion either. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman recently refuted suggestions (opens in new tab) that the headset could arrive at WWDC. While confirming development on the headset is “full steam ahead," any hardware at WWDC is likely to be Mac-related — something he’s suggested multiple times before.

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Gurman, and lawyer Jason Manakis, also pointed out (opens in new tab) that trademark filings are a legal requirement. So the timing is likely a coincidence, and the application isn’t evidence that the headset, or realityOS, will show up at WWDC. 

Why not announce the Apple VR/AR headset early?

Apple’s headset seems to have had more rumored reveal dates than we can count, and each time it ends in disappointment. While it’s not impossible that Apple could unveil the headset at WWDC, Kuo makes a very good point about the dangers of revealing a product so far ahead of launch.

Anytime Apple develops something innovative, it immediately ends up being copied by other companies. You also have to consider the fact that once a product has been announced, it can’t be unannounced.

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Apple’s AirPower is a great example of this in action. Not only was AirPower announced before Apple was ready to release, a very uncharacteristic move, the company made some pretty lofty promises about what it could do. 

AirPower was supposed to be able to charge three devices simultaneously, while communicating with each other and managing power consumption accordingly. After much speculation on why it hadn’t arrived, Apple canceled the project claiming that it wouldn’t meet the company’s high standards. Turning AirPower into a cautionary tale of announcing products that weren’t ready. It seems unlikely Apple would make that mistake again so soon/

Unsurprisingly, copycat devices did pop up in the months and years following AirPower’s reveal. Apple, meanwhile, seemingly changed lanes and focussed on MagSafe wireless charging instead.

It’s not impossible that Apple might have something headset-related ready for WWDC. But it doesn’t seem likely given most rumors point towards the headset arriving sometime in 2023. We’ll just have to wait and see what the WWDC keynote, which kicks off at 1 p.m. ET on June 6, has in store for us on the day.

Tom is the Tom's Guide's Automotive Editor, which means he can usually be found knee deep in stats the latest and best electric cars, or checking out some sort of driving gadget. 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 that Ikea won’t let him buy the stuff he really needs online.