Apple has been working on their Apple Reality Pro AR/VR headset for several years, and it was widely expected to be released in 2023. However, a new report suggests the device is significantly compromised, and that some top Apple executives are skeptical about its potential.
The report, which was published by Bloomberg, says that the headset has been delayed several times, and that it is not yet clear when it will be released. The report also says that the device is not as powerful as originally planned, and that it lacks some key features.
Originally, production was to have been focused on Apple Glasses, said to be a priority of Apple CEO Tim Cook’s. Apple has been working on both the Reality Pro headset—combining AR and VR in an enclosed case—and Apple Glasses, a lightweight device that appears much like normal eyeglasses.
However, they allegedly have not been able to create this lightweight pair and instead have leaned into the ski goggle-esque design that is already on the market. Apparently, Apple is at least four years away from any such product, if ever completing it.
There’s doubt about whether Apple Glasses will ever even launch as resources have not been applied—just 10% of those allocated to the Reality Pro headset.
Despite these challenges, Apple is reportedly still committed to releasing the Reality Pro headset. Supposedly, Apple is considering selling it at cost—a vastly different strategy than for its other products. The company is reportedly planning to sell Reality Pro at a breakeven cost, as opposed to the typical 37% margin the company prefers. They’ve even discussed selling it at a loss, according to some reports.
Key figures in Apple’s leadership, such as Craig Federighi, senior vice president for software engineering, and Johny Srouji, Apple’s senior vice president for hardware technologies have privately shared their skepticism. Cook is apparently not much help, being much less likely than Steve Jobs in terms of having strong opinions on changes or suggestions with product development.
Features are much less advanced than originally hopes and the battery had to be redesigned to an external pack. Yet, reportedly the budget of the devleopment costs has exceeded one billion dollars per year and requires more than a thousand engineers.
The report from Bloomberg is a significant setback for Apple’s plans to enter the mixed reality market. However, it is still too early to say whether the Reality Pro headset will be a success. Only time will tell whether Apple can overcome the challenges facing the device and make it a hit with consumers.