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Apple’s long-rumoured AR/VR headset to arrive in January 2023, new report says

Kuo said the ongoing Covid-induced lockdowns in China forced Apple to backtrack on the mixed reality headset’s development.

Apple AR/VR headset ming chi kuo
The operating system — realityOS — running on the headset was also spotted in a trademark filing. (Reuters)

Rumours about an AR/VR headset dominated the rumour mills ahead of Apple’s WWDC 2022. Among the rumours heading into the event was that Apple would provide a sneak-peak at the headset and the operating system that would power the wearable computer hardware, realityOS.

However, all that build-up accounted for nothing as Apple skipped any announcement on the headset during the keynote. Now, noted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has provided an expected timeframe for the product’s launch.

Kuo said the ongoing Covid-induced lockdowns in China forced Apple to backtrack on the mixed reality headset’s development. The product is likely to enter its Engineering Validation Test later in the third quarter, Kuo said.

Once the headset is finalised, Apple will host a media launch event in January 2023 followed by developer toolkit units shipping after two-four weeks, Kuo said. It is likely to take pre-orders in the second quarter of 2023 while open sales will begin around WWDC 2023.

THE RUMOURS

A recent report by Mark Gurman of Bloomberg said Apple’s board of directors got a glimpse of the headset. Engineers at the tech giant are working hard on an operating system, the report said. Historically, Apple’s board sees devices shortly before an announcement.

Leaks suggest that the headset would offer a complete immersive experience of virtual content and add virtual elements to the real world. It is likely to have an AirPods Max-esque fabric mesh and a headband that resembles a fancy Apple Watch loop. The headset is likely to be powered by an M1-class chip.

REALITYOS

The operating system — realityOS — running on the headset was also spotted in a trademark filing. The trademark application, however, wasn’t officially filed by Apple — a common practice for Big Tech to file applications to maintain anonymity and hide any connection.

The trademark document referenced “wearable computer hardware” and relates to “design and development of computer hardware, software, peripherals, and computer and video games”.

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