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Apple’s AR headset release gets adjusted after missing WWDC

There is bad news for those who were hoping to get their hands on Apple’s rumored upcoming augmented reality headset. It looks like shipping dates will shift from Q1 2023 to Q2 2023 — that is, if you believe the rumors.

This bit of speculation comes courtesy of the ever-reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. The delay is apparently due to the lockdowns in Shanghai, which have interrupted development timelines. Kuo tweeted out the bad news along with his own predictions for the headset:

(2/2)
1. EVT starting from 3Q22.
2. Media event on Jan 2023.
3. Delivery of development toolkit within 2-4 weeks after the event.
4. Starting pre-order in 2Q23.
5. Hitting store shelves before WWDC 2023.

— 郭明錤 (Ming-Chi Kuo) (@mingchikuo) June 7, 2022

Kuo believes Apple will hold a special media event to announce the AR headset around January of next year with pre-orders starting in 2Q23. He also predicts the device will land in stores before Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference next year.

That last prediction is a bit interesting because Apple normally uses WWDC to highlight new software products including updates to operating systems. That would be the perfect time to unveil “realityOS”, the rumored name for the OS powering the headset. That said, with Apple usually showcasing no less than five operating systems (iOS, iPadOS, MacOS, watchOS, tvOS), adding a sixth may be a little overkill.

Apple could choose to unveil both the AR headset and realityOS before WWDC and still provide more developer-specific announcements at the actual conference.

Apple VR Headset Concept by Antonio De Rosa
Apple VR Headset Concept Antonio De Rosa

There are many who hoped that Apple would provide some kind of tease at this years’ WWDC, but alas there was none there. Allegedly, overheating issues prevented Apple from showing it off during the keynote presentation. The company has been demoing it internally, however.

As its latest new product category since the Apple Watch, this AR headset is one of the most highly anticipated new products from the company in many years. Apple will likely try to position the headset as a game-changer like the original iPhone was in 2007, the iPad in 2010, and the Apple Watch in 2015.

The headset is rumored to be powered by an Apple Silicon chip more powerful than the M1. If the rumored release date proves to be true, that means it’ll almost certainly be based on the recently announced M2. Apple claims the new 2022 MacBook Air with the M2 has about the same power efficiency as the M1 while being 20% faster.

While you may be a bit bummed out that we’ll have to wait even longer for Apple’s AR headset, there were quite a few interesting things announced at WWDC yesterday.

The iPhone will finally get customizable lock screens with iOS 16. You’ll also be able to use your iPhone as a webcam with MacOS Ventura.

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