Apple could be planning to announce its much-anticipated mixed reality headset in January 2023. Supply chain analyst Ming-Chi Kuo shared the information in a note about the VR industry’s growth published on Medium today.
The information comes just a month after Bloomberg reported that Apple’s headset had been shown to the company’s board. This had to be an important internal milestone for a product which may have been in development since 2015.
In his note, Ming-Chi Kuo explained that Apple’s headset could be a “game-changer” for the VR headset industry, especially at a time when market leader Meta has slowed down its investments in VR hardware. “Although Apple has repeatedly reiterated its focus on AR, I believe Apple AR/MR supporting video see-thru could also offer an excellent immersive experience. Therefore, the launch of Apple AR/MR will further boost the demand for immersive gaming/multimedia entertainment,” the analyst wrote.
Apple is actually one of the rare major tech companies that didn’t join the new Metaverse Standards Forum that launched earlier this week, along with Niantic and Snap. “Apple is an industry leader with significant competitive advantages and doesn’t need to join the Metaverse Standards Forum now,” explained Ming Chi-Kuo. “After Apple launches AR/MR headset, I think Apple’s global rivals will compete to imitate it, leading the headset hardware industry to the next stage of rapid growth and benefiting the related services and content ecosystem.
Apple’s last major product launch was the Apple Watch back in 2015. Even though Apple probably failed to make the Watch a must-have for iPhone users, Apple has kept iterating on it without encountering serious competition from other manufacturers.
The VR market is quite a different beast, and Meta got a headstart years ago by purchasing Oculus and selling VR headsets at a loss. Apple will definitely be a late-comer, though the company may well succeed at making the augmented reality/mixed reality technology pioneered by Microsoft’s HoloLens more appealing to consumers.