Apple is set to launch a mixed-reality headset under the name “Reality” at WWDC 2023 (expected).
The headset will run on a new xrOS operating system and will be priced around $3,000. The development of this device took seven years.
Initially, Apple planned for a lightweight eyeglass like device. But due to technological constraints, the design evolved into a heavier, ski-goggle resembling headset that requires a separate battery pack.
The headset is intended to replace daily tasks typically performed on an iPhone or a Mac and could contribute over $25 billion annually to the company’s revenue.
Despite aiming for high initial sales, Apple had to reduce its estimates due to technical challenges and design compromises.
Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, was less involved in the design process than his predecessor, Steve Jobs, leading to some internal frustration.
The device development started in 2015 with Mike Rockwell’s team in Apple’s Technology Development Group and Ive’s industrial design team, but their visions clashed initially.
The final version of the headset is a compromise – a VR device that functions like an AR device using a “video pass through” feature.
Initial plans to develop a separate, lighter AR glasses product (dubbed N421 internally) struggled due to technical challenges, and serious product development for these glasses has been postponed.
Apple is currently liaising with software and game developers, as well as other entertainment companies to have content ready for when the device goes on sale.
Despite the mixed-reality headset’s departure from its initial vision, Apple hopes that the product will serve as a foundation that can be improved over time.
Information source: Apple’s New Headset Meets Reality