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In brief: Are you excited about Apple's upcoming $3,000 mixed-reality headset? Probably not, and according to a new report, neither are some of Cupertino's employees, who believe the company's debut in this area will prove an expensive flop.
Reports that Apple is working on an MR headset have been around for years, but it's claimed that the device will finally be unveiled at this year's World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC), usually held at the start of June, ahead of its release before the end of 2023.
According to a report by The New York Times, there are concerns within Apple that the headset will be a major flop, with some questioning whether the device is a solution in search of a problem.
Not surprisingly, that roughly $3,000 price, three times more than the high-end Valve Index, is a major cause of concern. Eight Apple workers who spoke to the publication said they were also worried about the headset's utility and its unproven market.
Some employees have left the project because they doubt its potential, while others have been fired due to a lack of progress on certain features, including Siri integration. Even Apple leaders have reservations about the headset, writes the NYT.
The report confirms that the headset looks like ski goggles and features a carbon fiber frame, has a hip pack containing the battery, uses an outward camera to capture the world, and comes with two 4K displays. Users can turn a "reality dial" on the device to increase or decrease real-time video pass-through from the world around them.
A presentation video was shown to 100 Apple executives at a corporate retreat five years ago. It showed a man in a London taxi wearing the headset while calling his wife at home in San Francisco, allowing the couple to share the sights together. The execs were reportedly excited by the headset's potential when it came to business applications such as videoconferencing, but that excitement has turned to skepticism for many. However, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman writes that the headset was showcased to 100 execs again at the Steve Jobs Theater last week. He believes it will launch with several issues and have little media coverage.
Apple expects its mixed-reality push to take years to pay off, following a similar playbook as its smartwatch, @markgurman reports in this week's Power On https://t.co/vUR0MFvkws— Bloomberg (@business) March 26, 2023
Apple also wants to aim its headset at artists, designers, and engineers, who will be able to draw and edit in 3D space. And although it is designed more for businesses and enterprises, it will also double as a high-resolution television with custom-made video content from Hollywood filmmakers such as Jon Favreau.
The headset is expected to be unveiled in June, though some employees believe Apple could delay the launch in light of the shaky global economy.