Apple Inc.’s long-awaited mixed reality headset may be delayed until the second half of 2023 because of software issues, according to well-respected Apple analyst Ming-chi Kuo.
Kuo explained in a thread on Twitter today that his latest survey indicates the mass-shipment schedule of Apple’s MR headset may be delayed until the second half on account of unspecified “software-related issues.” Most, including Kuo, previously believed that the headset would ship in the first half of the year, with Kuo suggesting in August that it could make its debut in January.
However, an announcement of the device and its shipping dates are two different things. Kuo notes it still needs to be determined whether the media event schedule, which included a launch in January, will be delayed. However, he notes, if the time frame between the media event and the end product is too long, it’s detrimental to promotion and sales.
Along with the likely delay of at least in the available product, Kuo now predicts that Apple will ship only 500,000 units in 2023, lower than the market consensus of 800,000 to 1.2 million units. The delay is also said to affect major suppliers of components used in the headset, including Largan Precision Co. Ltd. for the device’s lenses, Genius Electronic Optical Co. for the pancake lens, CowellOptic Electronics Ltd. for the camera module and Primax Electronics Ltd. for eyeball tracking module.
The possible delay comes days after a report that the headset’s operation system had changed from “realityOS to “xrOS.” The “XR” stands for extended reality, a term encompassing both augmented and virtual reality, or what others have referred to as mixed reality.
The name change report also noted that Apple was hiring employees to create its own 3D-based “mixed-reality world,” which is somewhat surprising since Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook has previously stated that he doesn’t like the “metaverse.” Other software and features are expected to include new versions of core apps such as Messages and Maps and a VR version of FaceTime that will rival Meta Platforms Inc.’s Horizon Workrooms.
The final name of the headset remains unknown. An Apple subsidiary had trademarked the terms “Reality,” along with “Reality One,” “Reality Pro” and “Reality Processor.”