Apple’s upcoming mixed reality headset, which according to previous reports may be officially announced early next year may not start shipping until the second half of 2023. According to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple could miss the previous estimate of Q2 2023 as the company has to deal with “software-related issues.”
“It still needs to be determined whether the media event schedule (previously estimated in January 2023) will also delay, but usually, if the time frame between the media event and end product mass shipment is too long, it’s detrimental to promotion and sales,” Ming-Chi Kuo added.
The mass shipment schedule of components is still likely 1H23/2Q23, but due to postponed mass shipment schedule of the end product, Apple MR headset shipment forecast in 2023 will likely be less than 500k units, which is lower than the market consensus of 800k-1,200k units.
— 郭明錤 (Ming-Chi Kuo) (@mingchikuo) December 4, 2022
Last week, Bloomberg reported that Apple had internally renamed the “realityOS” software powering the headset to “xrOS”, with “xr” being short for “extended reality.” This upcoming AR/VR headset will be company’s first major product launch since the original HomePod back in 2018, a product that has since been discontinued.
After Apple reportedly cut iPhone 14 production due to lower-than-expected demand, the company won’t be taking too many risks with its mixed reality headset, which is expected to be more expensive than the $1,500 Meta Quest Pro. ”Apple MR headset shipment forecast in 2023 will likely be less than 500k units, which is lower than the market consensus of 800k-1,200k units,” Kuo tweeted.
With its new mixed-reality headset, Apple will be a new challenger in a burgeoning market currently dominated by Meta. Apple’s headset is expected to come with a “ski goggles” design that’s possibly lighter than the competition. The company may also be able to leverage its huge ecosystem of iOS apps to launch its headset with a large selection of third-party apps.
If the Apple Watch has been a decent success for Apple, the company will still need to demonstrate that its ability to integrate hardware with software will be an advantage in the competitive AR/VR market. That’s not yet guaranteed if the xrOS software-related issues mentioned by Kuo are actually accurate.