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Reports that Apple is preparing to unveil its new “Reality Pro” headset at this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) have been met with a great deal of skepticism — not about the veracity of the reports, but about the product itself.
Apple’s mixed-reality AR/VR headset is poised to be its most significant new product launch since it revealed the Apple Watch in 2014, and it’s been years in the making. However, despite Apple’s best efforts, many industry watchers aren’t quite sure what to make of the so-called “Reality Pro,” with even some inside Apple fearing that it’s a solution in search of a problem.
Reports that the headset will cost upwards of $3,000 probably haven’t done much to quell the fears that the product could be a flop. However, those at the top of the Apple food chain remain cautiously optimistic. Many within Apple understand this is only the first step on a much larger journey, and the company isn’t looking to hit a home run during the first inning.
Even if Apple shows off the new headset at WWDC, it’s not expected to enter mass production until later this year, which means it could be several months before it lands in customers’ hands. Despite concerns that Apple is hoping for an “iPhone moment,”, a WWDC announcement seems highly likely. After all, nearly every other major new product category has been announced months before its availability, from the original 2007 iPhone to the 2017 HomePod.
Still, Apple has a lot riding on this in the eyes of the world. Analysts have already suggested the ‘Reality Pro’ could be the last hope for consumer AR/VR headsets, and the consensus is that Apple will pull another rabbit out of its hat with a new magical product.
While those are pretty high expectations, Apple isn’t under any illusions about the image it has in the eyes of pundits and consumers alike. It knows that its first headset announcement has to be something special, and it’s already lining up a series of apps and scenarios to help show off its capabilities.
As Apple’s work on the headset has progressed, it’s already managed to turn the heads of some skeptics who have actually had the opportunity to try the product out.
According to prominent leaker Evan Blass, who has a good track record for his insight into the deeper recesses of Apple Park, one person who has tried out the headset on multiple occasions has gone from being a doubter to becoming its biggest fan.
Blass shared the details on his private Twitter account, noting that the source had previously “lamented” the “underwhelming” capabilities of the headset. However, the improvements made since the end of last year have won him over in recent weeks.
The leap they’ve made since late last year is giant. I was so skeptical; now I’m blown away in a ‘take my money’ kind of way.Apple headset tester
As impressive and hopeful as this sounds, it shouldn’t be all that surprising. After all, this is Apple we’re talking about. Steve Jobs’ DNA is still baked into the company, and it doesn’t matter how many years it’s worked on something — if the final result doesn’t “surprise and delight,” it’s more likely to scrap it entirely. That’s especially true in this case since so much is riding on its first headset.
In other words, there’s little doubt Apple is building a world-class headset here. With an expected $3,000 price tag, it had better be. However, that’s the crux of the problem. It’s easy for folks to get excited when trying out a revolutionary new product; it’s quite another to find those who are genuinely willing to shell out the money to own one for themselves.
Thankfully, Apple’s mixed-reality headset won’t remain a costly product for the luxury class. We’ve already heard reports of work on a more wallet-friendly version in the works, which could become the “Reality” to Apple’s “Reality Pro.”
[The information provided in this article has NOT been confirmed by Apple and may be speculation. Provided details may not be factual. Take all rumors, tech or otherwise, with a grain of salt.]