We're big fans of Apple's gorgeous tech, but it's been some time since Apple innovated with the launch of a completely new product. We've had plenty of rumours about things that it might be working on, from foldable phones to an Apple Car. But new rumours suggest that its next launch might be a VR/AR headset.
We've been hearing rumours about an Apple VR/AR device for what seems like an eternity. While Meta, Sony and Microsoft have all released VR or mixed-reality devices, Apple has yet to announce anything official. But a usually reliable tipster thinks that could change very soon (for the best prices on Apple's current range, see our pick of the best Apple Black Friday deals).
With Apple's 2022 product lineup now apparently complete following the launch of the iPhone 14 and Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch Ultra in September and the iPad 2022 and iPad Pro 2022 last month, Apple fans are now looking expectantly towards 2023. As well as the products above this year also saw the launch of a new iPad Air and new M2-powered MacBook Pro and MacBook Airs. What we didn't see was the rumoured VR/AR headset.
It had been rumoured that we'd see an Apple AR/VR headset this year, but the project has reportedly faced various delays. However, several observers believe the device will finally see the light of day next year. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has even said in a tweet (opens in new tab)that the device will be announced at an event as soon as January for release in Q2.
(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.June 7, 2022
If the rumour is true, it would be the first time that Apple has held a January event since Steve Jobs revealed the first iPad way back in 2010. But then a brand new product like the rumoured Reality Pro could also merit a change to the usual calendar. After all, it will be Apple's biggest product reveal since the first Apple Watch back in 2014.
Bloomberg's Mark Gurman recently said in his "Power On" newsletter (opens in new tab) that he believed Apple's working on three headsets using the codenames "N301," "N602," and "N421." He claims the first of these will be launched under the name Apple Reality Pro and will be a "high-end rival" to Meta's forthcoming Quest Pro. That would be followed by a cheaper device, the N602 and then augmented reality glasses, N421, sometime further ahead.
The last Apple event was in September, focusing on the iPhone 14 and Apple Watch Series 8 and Ultra. Many were surprised that Apple went on to release a new iPad and iPad Pros in October with no prior event. Gurman has suggested that there was going to be an event but Apple decided to cancel it to save "marketing energy for the Reality Pro", again suggesting that the headset will be launching soon.
There are also reports that Apple has hired Jack Schulze and Timo Arnall, cofounders of Playdeo, a tech studio that developed Avo, an iOS game featuring a sentient Avocado, to work on mixed-reality projects for the device.
Reality Pro is expected to run on an all-new operating system, RealityOS, and to be aimed at a niche group of developers and other professionals. That makes it likely to be one of Apple's most expensive products yet – The Information (opens in new tab) reported last year that it's likely to cost around $3,000. For more details see our roundup of rumours on the Apple VR headset.