Apple may finally debut its mixed reality headset this spring

Apple may finally debut its mixed reality headset this spring

Apple’s getting ready to launch its long-rumored mixed reality headset this spring, according to a report from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman. The company’s reportedly planning to reveal the device ahead of the Worldwide Developers Conference in June and will start shipping it this fall.

The headset, which could cost as much as $3,000, is expected to provide both virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) experiences using Apple’s new xrOS operating system. Gurman says Apple has already shown off the Reality Pro-branded device to “a small number of high-profile” developers so they can start creating third-party apps for it.

Gurman’s prediction corroborates rumors from Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who said last week that the development of the headset is delayed “due to issues with mechanical component drop testing and the availability of software development tools.” He added that it “seems more likely” that Apple will announce the headset at a media event in the spring or at WWDC.

In recent months, numerous reports have emerged about the headset’s potential capabilities, including iris scanning for logins and payments and a physical dial that will let you switch out of VR. According to a report from The Information, it could also feature an AirPods Pro integration that can enable “an ultra-low-latency mode” when wearing the earbuds with the headset. It may also focus more on work rather than gaming, sort of like the $1,499 Meta Quest Pro, and might not come with a gaming controller.

But there are still “many kinks to work out” with the device’s hardware, software, and services, Gurman says, and this is slowing down Apple’s other projects. We may see a more low-key year for new releases as a result, and it also may be why Apple missed its goal of transitioning away from Intel-powered chips within two years.

Now, Apple’s expected to release a new lineup of MacBook Pros with marginal improvements this year, along with a 15-inch MacBook Air, and a new Mac Pro that will no longer come with the option for an M2 “Extreme” chip with 48 CPU cores and 152 graphics cores. Apple’s instead planning to release a Mac Pro variation with the M2 Ultra chip that eliminates user-upgradeable RAM, as Gurman notes that “the memory is tied directly to the M2 Ultra’s motherboard.” It could also ship with a design that’s “identical” to the $5,999 2019 model, which doesn’t make it much more attractive than the far cheaper (and far less bulky) $1,999 Mac Studio.

Apple’s also expected to reveal a new HomePod this year, but Gurman says not to “expect anything revolutionary about it.” It may just come with a lower price, an updated touch control panel, and an S8 chip. Other devices, like an updated 24-inch iMac and a new round of iPad Pros equipped with OLED displays, aren’t expected to arrive until next year, while iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 could feature more subdued upgrades.

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