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One more thing — why Apple should reveal its AR/VR headset at WWDC 2022

apple mixed reality headset
(Image credit: Future)

Update: The headset was a no-show at WWDC 2022, but Ming-Chi Kuo claims the headset should launch before WWDC 2023.

The magic of virtual reality or mixed reality is unmatched. Strap on a headset and you’re instantly transported to a different world where you can play games while being inside a virtual International Space Station or set up multiple virtual desktops for the ultimate in multitasking. Add Apple to this mix and the magic knows no leaps and bounds — or at least that’s the hope. 

Apple’s AR/VR headset keeps popping up in rumors and leaks, and we have now had plenty of mixed signals about when we will see the headset. A recent report claimed the company has shown off the AR/VR headset to investors, which could mean the headset is closer to launch than not. 

But Analyst Ming Chi Kuo debunked this and said Apple's headset may not be heading to WWDC this week and we might have to wait till 2023 for the launch, where Apple will launch the hardware with its own software — reportedly called realityOS.

With WWDC 2022 kicking off today (Monday, June 6), we hope and wonder if the headset may see the light of day, or will Apple will humor us with a glimpse of the headset or at least realityOS? 

Our WWDC 2022 live blog today will bring you all the big announcements from Apple's event, so we should find out soon, but I certainly hope that we get to see the headset — for different reasons I will list below. It would be one of the company’s biggest announcements ever and will probably set a benchmark for others. 

 Mind-blowing technology 

 Just going by rumors alone, Apple’s AR/VR headset seems like a big deal. The headset will reportedly focus on entertainment and, according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman (opens in new tab), the headset will include external cameras for hand and gesture tracking. This also means we might witness the magical possibility of being able to type in the air with a virtual keyboard.

The Information's report says there will be two 8K displays in front of our eyes, as well as LiDAR sensors like we see on the high end iPad Pro as well as the iPhones. It would help placing objects in our environment more accurately for AR.

According to a Bloomberg report, the headset is being worked on by 2,000 employees. It might be powered by a "variation of the M1 chip" so Apple is definitely not skimping on the power that will back this headset. 

There is some form of competition in the market with the likes of the Oculus Quest 2 that is one of the best VR headsets around. But even that has been around for some time now and is old news. The next Meta Project Cambria (or Oculus Quest Pro) headset is more high end and could be a direct competitor to whatever Apple is working on. 

With high-end features like this reportedly being tested, Apple should bring its technology to the market sooner than later and not make consumers wait just to gain an advantage over the competition. 

Apple is a pioneer in a lot of technology that it launches. As recent as last year, Apple’s cinematic mode on the iPhone 13 Pro revolutionized phone cinematography. So we have good reason to believe that whenever Apple does launch its AR/VR headset it will be pretty groundbreaking.

It's time for something truly new...

It has been a good seven years since we heard these (almost cliched) words from Apple and that Apple wowed us, specifically for a new category. The last new product category launched by Apple was back in 2015 — the Apple Watch. The excitement has been there but for smaller features, additions and iterations to existing products or product lines. 

Having a new AR/VR headset from the likes of Apple could be a gamechanger for the VR and gaming industry as well. 

With the metaverse gaining more attention, Apple would need to keep the wheels of innovation moving — even to please its investors. And if investors and board members have gotten a glimpse of it, it could be that Apple teases the headset at WWDC this week.

 So will we see Apple’s AR/VR headset at WWDC 2022? 

While we do hope we get a glimpse of the headset as soon as this week, the chances seem pretty bleak, unfortunately. 

Reliable analyst Ming Chi Kuo tweeted that we may not get to see the Apple AR/VR headset at WWDC 2022, citing that competitors “can’t wait to see the hardware spec and OS design.”

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Giving even a glimpse of the AR/VR headset could give copycats an advantage, and they might try and replicate not just the hardware but also the software. Then again, no one does the integration of the hardware and software quite like Apple. 

Competition aside, if there’s one thing we know with certainty it is that Apple will not launch a half-baked product. It will not launch a headset until it works as desired and integrates with other Apple devices. Apple would definitely care about getting it right before getting it in people’s hands.

We might just see a glimpse of realityOS because Apple would want to give developers access to the OS ahead of time to have third-party apps ready to go on the headset for a rumored early 2023 launch. 

Although it doesn't seem likely, I still hope we catch at least at glimpse of Apple’s AR/VR headset and Apple wows us again after a long 7-year-wait to enter a new product category. We will know later today at WWDC 2022. 

Here’s how to watch the WWDC 2022 livestream, and don't forget to also follow our WWDC 2022 live blog today for all the big announcements from Apple's event.

Sanjana loves all things tech. From the latest phones, to quirky gadgets and the best deals, she's in sync with it all. Based in Atlanta, she is the news editor at Tom's Guide. Previously, she produced India's top technology show for NDTV and has been a tech news reporter on TV. Outside work, you can find her on a tennis court or sipping her favorite latte in instagrammable coffee shops in the city. Her work has appeared on NDTV Gadgets 360 and CNBC.