Apple’s mixed reality headset will “likely be announced” in January 2023, according to reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a state of the VR industry blog posted to Medium, Kuo predicts that Apple’s entry into the space will be a catalyst for the growth of virtual and augmented reality, and dubs the company a “game-changer for the headset industry.”
In his writeup, Kuo predicts that Apple will release an AR/MR (augmented/mixed reality) headset with video see-thru capable of providing an immersive experience. Apple has focused its efforts primarily on AR, but Kuo says its hybrid headset will “boost the demand for immersive gaming/multimedia entertainment.”
The headset, according to the analyst, will be the “most complicated product Apple has ever designed” and consist of parts from multiple external suppliers. Earlier this year, the South Korean outfit The Elec reported that Sony would supply the headset’s main micro-OLED panel to Apple and that LG wants to take over for the second-generation device.
Kuo believes Apple’s headset will be such a success that its stock will be re-rated in the next few years, resulting in a value spike. Not only will Apple benefit, but its competitors will quickly respond with similar headsets of their own, a push that will help grow this budding ecosystem.
Apple has yet to publicly reveal any details about its forthcoming headset. We had anticipated a teaser at WWDC 2022 as a way for the company to get developers excited about building apps for a presumed AR platform, which could be called realityOS. However, the show came and went without any mention.
The timeline for Apple’s upcoming headset release is something of a moving target. Various reports have narrowed the much-anticipated reveal date to later this year or in early 2023. This latest “January 2023" prediction is the most specific so far. Kuo’s impressive track record and resulting reputation suggest he’s rather confident about the date, though the analyst qualified his statement by saying Apple “will likely” announce at that time.
Though Apple hasn’t confirmed any details about its headset, recent reports have painted a vivid picture of what to expect. The most telling comes from The Information, which cites anonymous sources as saying the headset will run on a 5nm TSMC chip (with similar power to the M1), will feature two 8K displays, and will incorporate 14 cameras. The headset will reportedly cost around $3,000.
Meta, formerly Facebook, is the current market leader, with the Oculus Quest 2 headset outselling the competition by a wide margin. Earlier this week, the Mark Zuckerberg-led company, alongside industry giants Microsoft, Nvidia, Sony, and others, debuted the Metaverse Standards Forum, a group designed to ensure interoperability in the metaverse. Apple and its rival Google are notably absent from the group.