Apple’s VR/AR headset could be difficult to make a reality


This could be some time off, as a rumoured difficult development could delay Apple’s VR/AR headset release date.

(Image credit: Ian Zelbo)

However, it may be some time before Apple’s VR/AR headset is actually available for purchase. Rumors have been flying for some time now.

This isn’t surprising given a new story from The Information detailing Apple’s rough experience with mixed reality, which we heard about last month.


Apple’s headset project is claimed to have been in the hands of ten people, most of whom worked on the project’s development team. However, it was only in 2016 that the first prototype headsets were produced. If they were modified HTC Vives or “cobbled together,” according to sources, the devices were too heavy to operate on their own.

A “little crane” was reportedly needed by executives testing the headsets in order to avoid straining their necks. However, what is the strangest aspect of this? Instead of running Apple’s own software, the prototype headsets allegedly ran Windows. With these limits, Apple’s Board decided to support the project.

According to reports, Facebook’s apparent interest in this area fueled their efforts. It appears that Apple’s worries weren’t unjustified, given Facebook’s recent investment in augmented reality glasses under the Meta brand.


Technical troubles

Technical difficulties are also claimed to have contributed to the delay in the release of the Apple VR/AR headset. Apple CEO Steve Jobs was actively involved in that particular initiative, according to The Information’s sources.

According to the article, current CEO Tim Cook has supported the headset, but he hasn’t been as involved in its development as he used to be. A lack of funding for the headset is reported to have hampered its ability to compete with competing technologies, like the Mac and iPhone.

The headset’s development was also alleged to have been hampered by the presence of former Apple design boss Jony Ive. Mike Rockwell’s initial goal was to create a virtual reality headgear. Iteam, ve’s on the other hand, was wary of virtual reality because they believed it isolated users from the outside world, lacked practical applications, and made them appear “unfashionable.” A headphone for an extended amount of time was also a non-starter for them.


An innovative solution to this problem was to use a mixed reality device It wasn’t only that the VR team wanted users to be able to view their surroundings, but that the design team was on board.

They prefered the idea of an outward-facing screen, which would allow others to see the wearer’s eyes and facial expressions while wearing the headset. That manner, the risk of alienation would be minimised, and a new degree of contact would be available that is not achievable with previous VR headsets. Only a few people knew about the display’s existence, though.

Rumors have circulated that I’ve “baulked” at the concept of selling a headset that required a base station in the past as well. That necessitated a shift in development to make the Apple VR/AR headset more autonomous, but also less powerful.


It’s said that The Information will have a follow-up story that focuses on subsequent stages of the Apple headset’s development, specifically the era around 2019.” There are likely to be a number of new Apple headset revelations in the near future.

When could we see an Apple Mixed Reality headset? 

The majority of the time, we at Tom’s Guide prefer to look forwards rather than in the past. A story by The Information adds weight to the theory that Apple’s VR/AR headset may not be ready for prime time until at least the second half of 2017.

Exactly how long will it take us? It’s possible, according to Haitong International Securities analyst Jeff Pu, that the headset will be presented in the fall of this year, but it won’t be available for purchase until 2023. Even this launch date, though, may be overly optimistic given the paucity of recent strong rumours.


Apple, on the other hand, has plenty of time.

The Oculus Quest 2 earned the top rank on our list of the best virtual reality headsets by giving an all-in-one virtual reality experience. Despite this, virtual reality (VR) remains a somewhat obscure topic in the world of technology. The lack of new VR headsets and the lack of VR compatibility on Xbox Series X consoles, for example, could be used as evidence.

As with AR, this is especially true for smart glasses — which have yet to gain widespread traction. Developers can now include augmented reality (AR) into their iPhone apps, and the results may be stunning, like IKEA’s app, which allows you place virtual furniture in your space to get a sense of what the actual item would look like. In spite of this, the technology is still in its infancy.


Even in the past, Apple hasn’t been known for bringing new technologies to market first; instead, it’s been known for being the best at applying what is already available. Apple’s iPhone 13 Pro, for example, has a 120 Hz display with an LTPO panel, which means consumers receive a super-smooth screen without draining their batteries. Previously, the iPhone was years behind Android smartphones in this area.

As a result, it’s safe to assume that Apple will take as long as it needs to develop a mixed reality headset that not only provides the best AR/VR experience, but also sets a new standard for the industry and helps mainstream VR.

Despite the fact that we may not see any new hardware at WWDC 2022, we may get a glimpse of what Apple is working on in the software department to enable future products. Because of this and other reasons, we’ll be on the lookout for any indications that Apple is working on an amazing AR/VR headset or even Apple Glasses.


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