Apple’s AR glasses were expected to be a follow-up to the XR headset that launches this year.
Instead, Apple has indefinitely postponed the AR device development and is instead building a cheaper version of the AR/VR headset.
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Apple’s plans to release its first mixed-reality headset this year are still on track. However, the California-based company’s plans for augmented-reality glasses have been delayed indefinitely or may not happen at all due to technical difficulties, Bloomberg reports.
The iPhone maker had originally intended to release the AR glasses about a year after the launch of its mixed-reality headset, but it has been put on hold. Instead, Apple is planning to release a more affordable version of the mixed-reality headset in 2024 or early 2025, according to sources familiar with the matter.
Mark Gurman, who recently wrote an article for Bloomberg on rumors regarding Apple’s VR/AR headset Reality Pro, said Apple “is betting that AR and VR devices could be a major moneymaker, but the technical challenges of producing a consumer-friendly product have bedeviled much of the tech world.”
“Apple’s initial dream of offering a lightweight pair of AR glasses that people could wear all day now appears many years away — if it happens at all,”Gurman added.
Apple’s new headset has a high price of around $3,000 due to its advanced and high-resolution displays, multiple cameras, sensors, and specialized processors. The device also has a Mac-grade M2 processor and a dedicated chip for handling immersive visuals, Bloomberg stated.
However, the company is looking to release a lower-cost version of the headset, using chips similar to those found in iPhones instead of more expensive Mac components. The device competes with Meta’s VR headset, which has a lower (but still high) cost of $1,500.
A mixed-reality headset is a device that fully immerses the user in a computer-generated environment, blocking out the real world and providing a fully enclosed experience. Augmented reality glasses, on the other hand, enhance the real world by overlaying digital information onto the user’s view of the environment.
Apple’s challenges in developing a new product category highlight the difficulties of introducing a market-ready AR/VR device. The company is optimistic that these technologies could be a significant source of revenue, but the technical difficulties of creating a user-friendly product have proven to be a significant obstacle for many tech companies, Apple included.
“I guess no one within the industry is surprised by the fact that we first need a whole wave of hybrid VR/AR glasses (Quest Pro, Vive XR Elite, Magic Leap … and even Apple’s own XR headset), before the market is ready for daily use AR glasses. Getting the hardware right is one thing, but let’s not forget the ecosystem and a perfected user interface underneath,”founder and COO of Tropos AR, Sven Van de Perre, shared his opinion in a LinkedIn post.
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