Apple's mixed reality headset debut expected in mid-2021

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited March 31
According to a new report, Apple is planning to announce its mixed reality headset "in the next several months," and would prefer to do so at an in-person event.

Credit: AppleInsider
Credit: AppleInsider


The Cupertino tech giant is reportedly planning on announcing the mixed reality product sometime in the next several months -- its first new product category since 2015. However, it doesn't necessarily want to do so at a virtual event, according to a report on Wednesday morning by Bloomberg.

"If possible, Apple won't want to make such a critical announcement at an online event," the report claims. "It wants employees, the media, its partners and developers in the room."

The report doesn't offer any additional details on a possible in-person event, or whether such an announcement is even feasible during the ongoing health crisis. It does point out that Apple appears to be working faster than other technology companies to get key engineering staff back in the office.

Back in January, Bloomberg reported that the first Apple AR or Apple VR device will be an expensive and "niche" product aimed mostly at developers. Reportedly, Apple plans to sell the product in low volumes -- perhaps just one headset per day per Apple Store location.

That first Apple headset is currently slated for a release sometime in 2022, reports indicate. With the Bloomberg prediction on Wednesday, it's possible that any unveiling in the coming months could be a pre-announcement meant to give developers time to explore the new experience -- similar to the Apple Silicon transition.

An unveiling in the "next several months" would normally coincide with either a spring event or WWDC. Based on that timeline and the fact that the product will be aimed at developers, the latter event appears more probable.

Other Apple watchers, like analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, have corroborated the company's planned release of an VR or MR device in 2022. The product is rumored to sport 8K displays, advanced eye-tracking technology, and other features in a visor-like design.

The MR device is focused on immersing a wearer in a fully virtual environment, although current rumors indicate that it would also provide some AR functionality. Because of that aim, it's set to compete with existing devices like the Oculus Rift, which are mostly focused gaming.

There do appear to be some disagreements about the device's price point. Kuo says that it'll be priced "above that of the iPhone." A report from February suggested that the MR device could cost as much as $3,000.

After the release of the high-end VR or MR device, Apple may also debut a more consumer-focused augmented reality product such as "Apple Glass" by 2025. A pair of augmented reality contact lenses could arrive by 2030, Kuo says.

Wednesday's report focused on the possibility of WWDC returning to an in-person format in the future. Reportedly, Apple hopes that WWDC 2021 will be the company's last conference to be held in a digital-only manner.

Apple has held every event digitally since its last in-person event in September 2019 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 11
    Who cares ... just give me an iMac with M1(X) already! :)
    danox
  • Reply 2 of 11
    bluefire1bluefire1 Posts: 1,105member
    I just want the Air Tags already followed by a folding iPhone.
    h4y3s
  • Reply 3 of 11
    Apple could do the event at WWDC. Perhaps the company could add a vaccination passport to Apple Wallet so that everyone in the auditorium could prove they are vaccinated. California will begin vaccinating everyone in the state in April so there is plenty of time for everyone invited to get their shots.
    badmonkWavelan_312
  • Reply 4 of 11
    Does that qualify as irony? Apple doesn’t want to use a virtual event to introduce a virtual reality device?
    exceptionhandlerradarthekat
  • Reply 5 of 11
    seanboy81 said:
    Who cares ... just give me an iMac with M1(X) already! :)
    So you want a crippled iMac with only 16GB of RAM, 2TB storage, integrated graphics, and two USB-C ports?  Hopefully Apple does not make that same mistake twice as they did with the MacBook Pro 13", Air, and Mac mini (the mini suffering the most with the loss of memory and loss of ports).
  • Reply 6 of 11

    Apple could do the event at WWDC. Perhaps the company could add a vaccination passport to Apple Wallet so that everyone in the auditorium could prove they are vaccinated. California will begin vaccinating everyone in the state in April so there is plenty of time for everyone invited to get their shots.
    California won't be at that safe tier level yet for that many people to be in an auditorium in close proximity to each other.  Only health agencies can create the wallet passport to prevent fraud of people claiming they are vaccinated, when they are not.  Travel from people outside of CA would also be an issue.  The virtual events, even though the last ones were cringe-worthy to watch, are still better than the in-person ones.  They move much faster with the presentation of the products.
  • Reply 7 of 11

    bluefire1 said:
    I just want the Air Tags already followed by a folding iPhone.
    Two fantasy products that do not exist.  That will be a long wait.
  • Reply 8 of 11
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 1,498member
    Does that qualify as irony? Apple doesn’t want to use a virtual event to introduce a virtual reality device?
    Yes, yes it would. 👍
  • Reply 9 of 11
    seanboy81 said:
    Who cares ... just give me an iMac with M1(X) already! :)
    So you want a crippled iMac with only 16GB of RAM, 2TB storage, integrated graphics, and two USB-C ports?  Hopefully Apple does not make that same mistake twice as they did with the MacBook Pro 13", Air, and Mac mini (the mini suffering the most with the loss of memory and loss of ports).
    For my usage, yes, that would be more than enough! :)
  • Reply 10 of 11
    seanboy81 said:
    Who cares ... just give me an iMac with M1(X) already! :)
    So you want a crippled iMac with only 16GB of RAM, 2TB storage, integrated graphics, and two USB-C ports?  Hopefully Apple does not make that same mistake twice as they did with the MacBook Pro 13", Air, and Mac mini (the mini suffering the most with the loss of memory and loss of ports).
    Those are not limitations for most iMac users, however I too am waiting for a pro-level Apple Silicon iMac.
    edited April 1
  • Reply 11 of 11

    bluefire1 said:
    I just want the Air Tags already followed by a folding iPhone.
    Two fantasy products that do not exist.  That will be a long wait.
    MacQuandary: The long wait we do to ourselves ourselves. By reading and discussing rumor after rumor after rumor we've set ourselves for a level of angst that only Rx could remedy. Cyber lives shouldn't matter.
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