Apple recently informed vendors that their mixed-reality headset is unlikely to be released this year, Bloomberg reports.
Bloomberg, The Information and supply chain analyst Ming-Chi Kuo all claim that Apple is preparing to release a high-end headset with high-resolution color cameras for mixed reality. Recent notes from Kuo claim that it will weigh 100-200 grams less than Meta’s Quest 2 and has two 4K OLED micro screens.
In February 2021, The Information claimed to have seen images of a late-stage prototype “showing a sleek, curved visor attached to the face of a mesh material and replaceable headbands”. Outlet gave this impression:
Bloomberg’s new report claims that Apple intended to announce in June at its Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) and broadcast later this year. But “challenges related to overheating, cameras and software” mean the announcement could be pushed to late this year and the release to 2023.
The overheating problem is said to be caused by attempts to use a laptop processor in a lightweight headset. In November, Ming-Chi Kuo reported that the headset will use a “new chip with” similar computing power as the M1 for Mac “.
As we noted at the time of this report, the M1 is a pretty big chip. While its power efficiency is incredibly impressive for a laptop or PC, it draws much more power and generates much more heat than the smartphone tier processors used in existing headsets like Quest 2. That’s why Apple uses its A-Series chips with lower power in even its most advanced iPhones.
The report also claims that Apple has “weighted prices north of $ 2000” for the headset. Despite this, the report also says that Apple expects sales of up to 10 million units in the first year. Meta has not revealed how many units Quest 2 has sold, but the face foam recall documents and a comment from Qualcomm’s CEO already suggest somewhere in the range of 5-10 million.
If Apple can finally manage to put an M1-tier chip in a 300-400 gram headset, it can deliver a significantly higher experience than Meta. But Bloomberg’s report suggests it has proved more difficult than expected.