pple is one of the biggest names and innovators in wearable tech, so it’s not surprising that they started developing augmented, virtual, and mixed reality headsets. However, these projects have been stuck in development for quite some time and have reportedly hit numerous setbacks.
That may be about to change if the current report being circulated by DigiTimes is correct. Based on insider information from their sources in the supply chain, the media outlet predicts that Apple will start mass producing their XR headsets as early as March 2023. They also predict that Apple will officially unveil the headset to the public in April.
XR is an acronym for “extended reality. ”This is an umbrella term for augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR). A headset that is equipped for XR allows the user to experience all three of these types of immersive media through gaming, sim environments, and more.
According to Digi Times, Apple’s XR headset will be manufactured exclusively by Pegatron. This comes as no surprise, as Apple has partnered with Pegatron, a Taiwanese company, many times in the past to produce iPhones and iPads.
Insiders estimate that the annual shipment will number roughly 0.7 to 0.8 million units, which is considerably less than the 2.5 million units they previously projected. However, this is by design. With lower volume production, Apple can charge higher prices. They also expect to target the commercial market withthis product, at least during this first run.
Eventhough 0.7 to 0.8 million units is not considered particularlyprofitable for supply chain manufacturers like Pegatron, the latteris reportedly willing to overlook that to prove that they are capableof handling production of the XR headset. This way, they will setthemselves up to partner with Apple on future AR, VR, and MRprojects.
In June 2022, an Apple analyst named Ming Chi Kuo who works at TF International Securities predicted that Apple would announce their new XR headset in January 2023. Customers, he said, would be able to start pre-ordering the product sometime in the second quarter of the year.
If DigiTimes sources are correct, their timeline differs only slightly -by three months - from Kuo’s in regard to the unveiling of the headset. However, they may both be right about pre-orders beginning in the second quarter.
Apple’s XR headset is said to cost around $3,000. This isn’t something that your average everyday consumer is going to be able to buy, at least not for a while. It’s clear that Apple has a long game plan in mind, and targeting the commercial market is only the beginning of their XR journey.