Report: Apple’s AR/MR Headset Could Be Announced in January 2023

Posted on June 24, 2022 by Laurent Giret in Apple with 15 Comments

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.

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Comments (15)

15 responses to “Report: Apple’s AR/MR Headset Could Be Announced in January 2023”

  1. jchampeau

    In the US, nearly every adult and most teenagers (and a growing number of children) has a smartphone. Many also have a smartwatch or fitness tracker of some kind. I don't see any kind of AR/VR/MR headset, from any manufacturer, becoming more than a niche thing because unlike phones and watches, you have to strap this thing to your head.

  2. red.radar

    This feels like the Big Tech’s “3d moment”.

  3. Daekar

    If anyone still has a reality distortion field after most tech has become commoditized, it's Apple. I can't imagine what they could present that would magically make AR/VR more appealing to the masses, but I guess we'll see.

    • rob_segal

      The Apple ecosystem will make it more appealing to people. They have the best ecosystem in the world. Millions of downloads for ARkit with thousands of apps. They have the most engaged developer base and the most engaged users.

      • shameer_mulji

        This rumored headset is supposedly going to cost around $2,000 USD. How engaged do you think users will be to fork out that kind of money? They weren't that engaged to spend $349 on the original HomePod.

        • rob_segal

          We don't know how much it will cost, especially if it leverages the power of the iphone. I expect it be the most popular VR/AR headset because of Apple's vibrant ecosystem and ARkit. I also expect the glasses to be popular when Apple deems it ready.

        • rob_segal

          To add to this, Mark Gurman reports a new HomePod is coming in 2023 and I'll buy several when it's available.

    • bleached

      The bigger issue with current devices is the input method. If Apple has an input method that isn't terrible and is able to shrink the glass substantially, they might release it. Until then, I don't see it happening.

  4. anderb

    Or it could not.

  5. derekaw

    We have no idea what this device is, what it will look like, how it will work and how much it will cost. Speculating negatively about it at this point would be like betting against the iPhone in 2006 because it wont have a physical keyboard.

  6. spiderman2

    Report: Apple’s AR/MR Headset Could Be Announced in January 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023

  7. nbplopes

    Either Apple really lost its disruptive innovation mojo or the next thing with be augmented glasses. Don’t see VR being much of a thing if not for gaming … in that field Apple is mostly uninteresting … revenues are App Store driven. Even Sony does a better job.

    Now what could interesting is a deal between Apple and Nintendo for that matter.

    • bkkcanuck

      I think unfortunately most people are viewing this a little bit shallowly. Apple does not just do research and develop technology for one niche device, they develop technology that provides a foundation for a future range of products. Mixed reality is a fundamental technology that has potential beyond just a VR/MR headset, and beyond just an AR headset... The technology is fundamental in also fundamental in developing immersive environments of which an AR/MR headset is only one piece of the puzzle. The AR/MR headset is just the first of the uses for the technology that is consumer focusing and regardless of the size of the market, will be large enough that Apple will be able to start deriving positive cash flow from the research while working on other products. Initially, it will be an accessory to the iPhone like the Watch is. It is likely Apple will focus on wider usages than the narrow focus that is gaming and porn -- where people are willing to use cheap inferior technology (that results with more people having issues with motion sickness caused by latency -- and the lack of resolution to make the environment only making it suitable for games [sort of the VR version of pong]).

      • nbplopes

        I was not talking about research but actually new good consumer products. One thing that Apple shines when compared to competitors is their ability to come with incredible products from the lab to the hands of the public. They make mistakes like others, but they do get It right more often than others.

        I believe that VR/MR seams to bring many use case opportunities. Yet, it is still something that does not come in the flow of the moment like great products. Even if you put an effort on it ... apart from entertainment ... the return is not really that great and its obtrusive. The device is the key, not the platform.

        You mentioned Apple Watch ... it's a very good Apple product indeed. Yet hardly disruptive. In that respect I believe that glasses is the key ... no idea of how mature this tech is. I guess it will come when its ready. Until than I spare my excitement ... Playstation VR is entertaining enough I guess.

        • bkkcanuck

          The watch is an accessory to the phone, so it being disruptive is tied to the phone... (the same likely for glasses of any type)... The watch was initially released, but the use case did not sell... now though the watch is the top selling watch worldwide (not just smartwatch).