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Apple's oft-rumored VR headset could be delayed into 2023

While Apple has never confirmed development of a VR device, industry insiders believe it will hit the market at some point.

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If you spend enough time following the internet rumor mills, you’ve probably seen stories with speculation that tech giant Apple is preparing to enter any number of existing or emerging markets. One such rumor has been floating around for years that Apple has plans to enter the virtual reality and augmented reality markets with their own device. While mass-market adoption of VR hardware is still in the early stages, some competitors, such as Facebook, have seen some early success. Industry insiders believe Apple is busy with their own VR headset but warn that the device could see a delay into 2023.

Apple’s new device reportedly operates as a hybrid that could allow both virtual reality and augmented reality functionality. Industry insiders believed that the device was scheduled to debut at this year’s WWDC with a retail release towards the holiday season. Those plans now appear to be up in the air and the headset release could slip into next year. 

The report speculates that the team at Apple is being forced to delay the release as they have run into hiccups and roadblocks during development. VR headsets are complicated and the insiders speculate that Apple is still dealing with properly cooling the internal components, tracking issues, and just about any other obstacle that companies with VR hardware must overcome.

Facebook has been enjoying headlines with the success of their Oculus Quest 2 device, but that headset arrived after several retail device releases and more than a decade of collaborative work from industry veterans across multiple companies. Apple is likely to get this sorted out before long, but they will need to get the device in front of developers as soon as possible. While the 2022 WWDC would have been a perfect place to do this, we may not see this come to fruition until the 2023 version of the event.

For more coverage on Apple’s foray into VR and the biggest news in tech and gaming, make sure to keep checking in with us here at Shacknews.

Contributing Tech Editor

Chris Jarrard likes playing games, crankin' tunes, and looking for fights on obscure online message boards. He understands that breakfast food is the only true food. Don't @ him.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    January 14, 2022 12:14 PM

    Chris Jarrard posted a new article, Apple's oft-rumored VR headset could be delayed into 2023

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      January 14, 2022 12:17 PM

      Oh bummer. Oh well, my Vive flow just arrived and it's just sitting here taunting me while I wait for my Android phone to ship!

      https://i.imgur.com/dKTAOy0.jpg

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        January 14, 2022 1:08 PM

        I'm really intrigued to hear what you think about that once you get a chance to use it.

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        January 14, 2022 1:50 PM

        So that thing is wireless and runs off of a phone? Can it hook in to existing VR game libraries?

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          January 14, 2022 2:27 PM

          Well it really isn’t wireless because it needs a wire to hook up to a phone or battery. In addition the device uses a phone as the controller rather than hand tracking or motion controller. Therefore it is really more for seated experiences rather than Quest 2 level roomscale.

          I purchased it because I have a VR180 camera that I record a lot of videos from and my Oculus Go was “okay” but not a great device for easily viewing VR180 videos.

          Vive has an App Store and video library via subscription or purchase called Viveport. Additionally you can use Miracast to stream any content from your phone, including Netflix, Hulu, Disney+. However, to interface with SteamVR you have to use 3rd party applications like Vridge, which I have heard is not as good as Oculus or VR Desktop.

          I am fully aware of the limitations of the device but really would love a portable, lightweight device for media consumption. In addition, I am going on a flight to Phoenix next month so I’m curious how well it works for travel!

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            January 14, 2022 2:39 PM

            Sounds cool for what it's built to do. Let us know what you think!

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      January 14, 2022 12:23 PM

      Hope it doesn’t I wanna see this thing

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      January 14, 2022 12:30 PM

      the price rumors on this thing are so nonsensical. There is no way Apple is launching a $2000-3000 headset. If they were interested in launching a niche, ultra high end device they wouldn't be waiting until 2022-2023 to launch their first headset. Shades of all the iPad price rumors Apple obviously leaked to suggest it would be $1000+ only to launch massively under expectations at a bargain $500.

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        January 14, 2022 1:02 PM

        500 is way too low unless it’s a gimped version of what the rumours suggest, supposedly it’s a high end headset first then cheaper ones down the road

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          January 14, 2022 1:14 PM

          $500 is a high end headset price. Oculus and others already set the bar here and tested the market. The Rift is high end at $500 and the Quest is low end at $200 (PSVR plays in this range too as a high end enthusiast device). You could imagine Apple trying to push this somewhat (and especially via higher memory/storage SKUs that have better margins) but the $2000-3000 pricepoint is for headsets designed to have no consumer demand (Google Glass, Hololens, Magic Leap). The middle of that ($1000) is no mans land too (like the Index), especially if you have any ambitions of building a development platform.

          Do people seriously believe Apple is going to come out with a big announcement for a product at this price point? All their recent success has come from premium but accessible price points (subsidized iPhones at $200, $500 iPad, $1000 Macbook Air). $2000-3000 is a firmly inaccessible pricepoint to most, especially for an unproven category that needs to built an app ecosystem. Why launch at this price point? What competitive pressure is there to get something out? Why not wait another year or two and sell something even better for less? You just can't launch new platforms at this price point.

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            January 14, 2022 1:21 PM

            Since we both don’t know the specs they want on the thing or if it’s a tethered headset we can’t really be sure. But it being Apple it’s going to cost some good money that’s almost guaranteed 😅

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              January 14, 2022 1:29 PM

              The rumors here are clearly for untethered both in specs and price. It would be unfathomable for a tethered headset to cost that much. The rumors here are basically that they're shipping a Macbook Air and monitor the size of your face.

              In any case, I don't think we need to know either thing to make some reasonable inferences about the end result. Apple's launch strategy isn't dictated by what specs they demand must ship. If the only specs that get them an Apple quality experience in a headset would cost consumers $5000 then clearly they would not launch that product. I think the same is true if the price is 'only' $2000-3000.

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                January 14, 2022 1:30 PM

                I do agree 2k to 3k is stupid but I think it’s higher than 500.

                Hope I’m wrong though.

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                  January 14, 2022 1:38 PM

                  Yeah, I could buy it releasing at slightly higher like $700-800 base and maybe a common memory/storage upgrade pushes some into a $1000 SKU. I would be pretty surprised to see a base SKU at $1000 starting point.

                  Like I said these rumors sound to me exactly like the iPad where they leaked prices at 2x or more what they ended up launching at which made a high priced, luxury toy actually suddenly seem like a surprising bargain.

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                    January 14, 2022 1:41 PM

                    Is it true FB sells Quest / 2 at close to or even at a loss? Don’t think Apple would play that kind of game, but what do you think?

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                      January 14, 2022 1:49 PM

                      I've probably only heard the same things you have on that which sounds very believable and is smart strategy to bootstrap a platform on FB's part (and makes it hard for any competitors to match you if they don't have another business unit to fund the product line). Surely Apple won't do that though, I'd expect the usual 30-40% margins. But on the other hand they get more bang for the buck than anyone out of the hardware they develop thanks to their expertise and scale. You can get an M1 based iPad or Macbook Air for $800-900 now with those types of profit margins so what's feasible with an M1 in a year (perhaps you can get away with a cheaper chip too)? And this still all assumes it's untethered vs like wireless from an iPhone/iPad.

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            January 14, 2022 1:26 PM

            Remember they sell a set of wheels for their tower computer for 700 bucks and wireless headphones for 550, it’s not really far fetched they could come up with some crazy good VR headset that it’s fancy and expensive in its 1st model

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              January 14, 2022 1:36 PM

              The price you can charge for something that requires network effects (a software platform) and something that does not are completely different. You could sell 10,000 gold plated Beats headphones for $5,000 each and that's a success. Selling 10,000 VR headsets for $5,000 each resulting in a platform with no developer support would be a disaster. They've never launched a major software platform with this strategy because it is a bad strategy. And they have never launched an enterprise/enthusiast focused platform first (as other AR/VR headsets have done) because Apple is a consumer company at their core. If they wanted to launch a toy to learn from they could've done that years ago (and that's surely what they've been doing with real products and their miniaturization efforts in AirPods and the Watch).

              In any case, even if you want to make that comparison I would point out how Apple's actual premier, high end wireless earbuds came in well under the price of many competitors who had launched truly wireless earbuds in recent years (at ~$300). Even their Pro variants (which launched after the accessible version, not before) still came in very much under what people had spent on headphones before.

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            January 14, 2022 1:44 PM

            oculus has the advantage of being able to sell at a loss because they want to dominate and harvest data etc. i hope its less than 1k but all the rumors suggest a pretty high end price... maybe a really elite vr headset for early adoptors

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              January 14, 2022 1:54 PM

              Here's the other thing I think folks are missing about the high end idea. Who buys high end headsets today? (high end meaning $500 let alone $1000+) What is the market? It is basically entirely high end videogames which is a market Apple neither likes nor understands. Are they really going to market primarily to folks who wanted an Index (who historically are pretty aware of Apple's hostility to serious gaming) and meanwhile try to suddenly get a bunch of iOS devs to sell $20+ AR/VR games in an app store that has spent 15 years conditioning customers to the idea that $5 is an exorbitant price for a piece of software?

              It just doesn't add up to me. Can you really imagine the WWDC sizzle reel trailer for this device and it's all clips of fancy videogame graphics rather than a Wii/Switch style trailer (bringing people together) or creating some other magical moments merging the digital/physical life? But the latter all requires an accessible device that you and your friends can afford.

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        January 14, 2022 1:52 PM

        Well they can't make it as cheap as their Mac Pro Wheels.

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      January 14, 2022 1:34 PM

      i feel for VR the way crypto bros feel about crypto. except my enthusiasm is for something actually legit. apple entering the space along with psvr2 should really set wheels in motion this yr especially with quest2's success over the last couple months

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      January 14, 2022 1:56 PM

      A product that was never announced was delayed. Hm ok

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        January 14, 2022 2:22 PM

        Just like the Apple Car

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