The Lamen


by | Apr 5, 2023

The Virtual World.


Apple’s mixed-reality headset, dubbed the “Reality Pro,” is slated for a public release at WWDC23 this June, but the device has already become one of the most polarizing products for the company.

At a recent private event, Apple showcased how far they had come with the AR/VR headset, according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman.

  • Held at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California, the device was presented to Apple’s “top 100” executives.
  • The mixed reality team had been conducting such an event discretely every year since 2018, but this year’s demonstration was different from the previous ones.
  • The presentation was described as “polished, glitzy, and exciting,” indicating that a public release is close.

However, recent reports have suggested that the company may be looking to postpone the release of the Reality Pro headset, adding fuel to the rumors of internal issues.

  • Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo tweeted that the company’s mass production schedule for assembly has been pushed back by another 1-2 months to mid-to-late 3Q23.
  • This adds uncertainty to the headset’s WWDC release.

The mixed reality headset is meant to be Apple’s foray into rather untrodden grounds – and the company’s officials are not rather optimistic about its release.


Analysts are worried about several aspects of the device, predicting that it could face problems similar to Meta’s advents.

  • Meta’s $1,500 Quest Pro headset was meant to give people a hands-on experience of the “metaverse.”
  • A recent price cut that put the device at $1,000 indicated that it has been a tough sell despite its impressive feature set.

With an expected price of $3,000, the mixed-reality headset has already been subject to a lot of criticism.

  • Apple has spent over 7 years developing the project – and the cost of the first iteration of the device far exceeds that of most competing VR headsets.
  • Meanwhile, rumors have suggested that the company is working on a more affordable version of the headset to come out sometime in 2024 or early 2025.

Apple’s vision with the mixed-reality headset is still very much still up in the air.

  • With the mixed reality headset, Apple is planning to meld VR and AR into a single head strap – allowing you to jump into a virtual universe or simply drop things into your own.
  • Developers would be the primary target for the headset, early rumors suggested.
  • However, later reports stated that gaming and entertainment would be a heavy focus, with Gurman suggesting that the headset will be heavy on gaming, media consumption, and communication.

At the same time, recent developments have made the event even more confusing – despite the WWDC23 invite making slight indications of the VR/AR headset’s announcement.

  • According to the New York Times, eight former and current Apple employees are concerned about the headset’s “roughly $3,000 price, doubts about its utility and worries about its unproven market.”
  • There has been some internal turmoil regarding the imminent release of the headset, as “some internal skeptics have questioned if the new device is a solution in search of a problem,” wrote the Times.

Interestingly, both the iPhone and Apple Watch were doomed for failure when they were first announced.

  • Both the devices went on the become best-sellers in their category, a trajectory Apple hopes to follow with its headset.
  • Apple expects to sell about 1 million units with the first generation of the device – generating about $3 billion in revenue. Despite that, almost none of the revenue is expected to go under profits.

Between all the curveballs leading up to the event, a very clear picture of the headset has already been formed – a carbon fiber housing resembling a pair of ski goggles, two 4K displays, a digital crown to go in and out of VR, an external battery pack that sits in your pocket, and Apple’s “most advanced and powerful chips.”

Zooming out: Apple’s mixed reality headset will prove critical not only for the company but the future of the VR industry as well.

  • The headset will be a test of how much people are willing to spend on a pair of “glasses” that let you experience a “fake reality.” Apple is the only company that could get people to dish out such amounts on a VR headset.

Cook famously referred to Google’s AR glasses as “not a smart move,” but has since then evolved in his thinking.

  • Apple CEO Tim Cook describes the idea of augmented reality as something that could “greatly enhance people’s communication, people’s connection,” in a recent conversation with GQ.
  • Apple’s foray into this space will also prove as a challenge for Meta, which has lost billions in its Reality Labs. division working on the future of augmented reality.
  • Despite experiencing said huge losses, Meta is not giving up on its roadmap to the metaverse. The company is already expected to release a pair of AR glasses as well as the Quest 3 headset – both of which will prove critical in its vision.

Apple’s vision of a premium AR/VR headset could very well shape the industry, just like how they got people to splurge upwards of $1,000 on smartphones.