Apple is ramping up development of the operating system for its headset, with a plan to launch in 2023, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reports.
In 2021 Bloomberg, The Information, and supply chain analyst Ming-Chi Kuo released reports claiming Apple is preparing to release a premium headset for VR and AR with high resolution color passthrough. Recent notes from Kuo claim this headset will weigh significantly less than Meta’s Quest 2, feature dual 4K OLED microdisplays, and use a new chip with “similar computing power as the M1 for Mac”.
Apple has in recent weeks ramped up development of realityOS (rOS), its operating system that the headset will run, and previewed the headset to the board of directors, Gurman reports. The board of directors includes CEO Tim Cook. References to realityOS were found in App Store upload logs and Apple code earlier this year.
Separately, The Information released the first half of a report detailing the history of the project. The product was apparently originally supposed to launch in 2019 but this has slipped several times. Early prototypes in 2016 used jury-rigged HTC Vives and software running on Microsoft Windows, with one being so heavy it had to be suspended by a small crane. The report also cites five sources revealing Tim Cook rarely visits the team working on the headset – a stark difference to Meta where some employees are reportedly frustrated at Zuckerberg’s obsession with VR and AR.
The lack of a top level Apple executive championing the project has apparently made it harder to get engineering staff & resources allocated compared to the iPhone and Mac. To get support for the project, team members apparently warned that companies like Facebook and Magic Leap could end up owning the sector.
Gurman is sticking by his earlier reporting that the product will be announced this year or early next for a release in 2023. He explained back in January the delay was due to “challenges related to overheating, cameras and software”. In April a display supply chain analyst also said the headset is delayed until next year.
Both Gurman and The Information report Apple’s headset is set to be priced north of $2000. It should end up competing with Meta’s Project Cambria, slated to launch later this year for “significantly” above $800. If Kuo’s notes are to be believed, though, Apple’s product will have higher resolution, a more powerful processor, and slimmer design.