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Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference starts June 5 and the company is widely expected to debut its “Reality Pro” AR/VR headset at the big developer shindig. The Wall Street Journal released a new report on Friday, confirming multiple details about the headset.
The report, which cites information from the usual “people familiar with the matter” inside sources, echoes previous rumors about the augmented reality/virtual reality headset. This includes a ski goggle-type design, an external battery pack, and more.
Much of the information included in the WSJ report has been shared previously by other analysts and journalists, including Ming-Chi Kuo, The Information, and Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman.
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The report jives with previous headset rumors that the device will use a mixed-reality approach, allowing users to “experience their virtual worlds through the screen in the goggles” while also viewing the “physical world around them thanks to outward-facing cameras.”
Although the report says the headset is on track to appear at WWDC in June, it also says the headset will not be available for most users until “fall at the earliest.” Mass production of the headset won’t kick off until December, says the report. That said, the report also says Apple has “spent months preparing presentations with a demo version of the device” for the developer event.
Sources say Apple refuses to wait any longer to reveal the new headset, as finalizing an ideal version of the device would take too much time. Also, competitors already have products on shelves, and Apple is heavily invested in the headset’s development in both capital and resources.
Even though mass production is apparently still six months or more away, the report’s sources say that some inside the Cupertino company and in its supply chain continue to be worried about further delays, given the challenges involved with integrating the headset and the new software, its production, and the broader market. They believe Apple could still change the device’s development timeline.
Unlike most Apple products, the headset may not debut as a fully-formed product. Plus, the headset’s expected $3,000 price tag will put it out of reach for many consumers and Apple is saying to be already anticipating some production issues.
Today’s WSJ report also backs up previous claims that an external battery pack will power the “Reality Pro” headset. The report also says the headset will fully enclose a user’s eyes like a pair of safety goggles, which will prevent users from “being able to directly view their surroundings as they would with a normal pair of glasses.”
Apple is said to be planning multiple developer training sessions at WWDC, which will be devoted to developing software for the new headset.
Apple developers are reported to be working on a “killer app” for the headset, such as a FaceTime-like product, as well as ways to port its mobile apps to the device.
Apple analyst Ming-chi Kuo has forecast that Apple will ship 200,000 to 300,00 units in 2023, which are much smaller figures than what we’ve seen for previous new Apple products, such as the iPhone or Apple Watch.