Apple Postpones AR Glasses Launch – Report

Launch of Apple’s long-rumoured augmented reality headset will still take place this year, but the AR glasses launch has been shelved

There was mixed news this week about the launch of two new product lines from iPhone giant Apple.

According to noted Apple leaker Mark Gruman reporting for Bloomberg News, Apple is still planning to unveil its first mixed-reality headset this year.

However, a rumoured follow-up product, namely the lightweight augmented-reality glasses, has reportedly been postponed due to technical challenges.

Apple chief executive Tim Cook at WWDC 2020. Image credit: Apple
Apple chief executive Tim Cook at WWDC 2020. Image credit: Apple

Augmented reality

Apple’s first mixed-reality headset is still expected to launch in Spring this year, and will reportedly combine both augmented and virtual reality.

It is reported that the headset will cost around $3,000.

It will compete with Meta Platforms’ Quest Pro headset, which launched late last year for a much more reasonable $1,500.

Meta Quest Pro

According to Gruman’s Bloomberg report, Apple now plans to focus on lowering the price of the follow-up version of its mixed-reality device, expected as soon as 2024 or early 2025, instead of working on the AR glasses.

For the cheaper headset, Apple’s will reportedly utilise similar chips found the iPhone rather than components found in higher-end Mac computers.

Meanwhile Apple on Tuesday has also surprised industry watchers by releasing its new MacBook Pro models, and Mini, all featuring its new and faster M2 Pro and M2 Max chips.

Apple usually waits until the Spring before releasing its first products.

Much delayed

For years now there have been reports that Apple has been developing a wearable augmented reality device, ever since Apple gained an AR patent in 2013 when it acquired WiFiSlam.

It was reported in 2017 for example that Apple had been hoping to deliver an augmented-reality headset by 2020.

Speculation of Apple’s intentions increased when CEO Tim Cook in 2017 predicted that AR technology could have as much impact as the smartphone.

It is well known that Cook and Apple feel that AR has much more potential than virtual reality (VR), given how the technology allows for interaction with the physical world rather than immersing people in virtual ones.

When the 2020 arrival failed to appear, Apple was said to be aiming to release an augmented-reality headset in 2022 and a sleeker pair of AR glasses by 2023.

It is reported that both wearable devices will come with a “3D sensor system”, which is set to be a more advanced take on Apple’s Face ID camera technology.