Ming-Chi Kuo, a respected supply chain analyst, reports that Apple is tamping down enthusiasm for its upcoming mixed reality headset, which was rumored to see its big announcement at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June.

In a tweet, Kuo reports Apple is delaying release of its MR headset due to decreased optimism in recreating the “iPhone moment” the company was hoping to achieve with the device.

Kuo, an analyst at Asia-Pacific financial services group TF International Securities, is widely considered one of the most accurate voices in predicting Apple releases. Kuo has made many predictions in the past based on supply chain movements, including Apple’s 2020 switch to its own custom ARM-based processors for Mac computers, the 2019 release of a new MacBook Pro with a 16-inch display, and the release of the entry-level iPad with an A13 chip in 2021—just to name a few.

Kuo says Apple’s MR headset, which is reportedly codenamed N301, is being pushed back “another 1-2 months to mid-to-late 3Q23,” noting that the assembly line delay could mean we won’t see the new device at WWDC 2023 in early June as previously reported by The Financial Times earlier this month.

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It was said Apple CEO Tim Cook was a leading force in pushing the device’s launch this year, something that’s reportedly been a source of tension between the Apple chief and the industrial design team since the company began efforts in 2016.

Furthermore, Kuo says that due to the device’s delay in mass production, “the shipment forecast this year is only 200,000 to 300,000 units, lower than the market consensus of 500,000 units or more.”

“The main concerns for Apple not being very optimistic regarding the market feedback to the AR/MR headset announcement include the economic downturn, compromises on some hardware specifications for mass production (such as weight), the readiness of the ecosystem and applications, a high selling price (USD 3,000-4,000 or even higher), etc,” Kuo concludes.

If you’ve been following with the Apple rumor mill for the past few years, you’ll know there are almost too many reports to name at this point. To simplify, we’ve included a list of the headset’s rumored features and specs which we’ve collated from those reports.

Take note, none of the info below has been confirmed by Apple, so please take it with a large grain of salt.

Rumored Apple MR Specs

  • Resolution: Dual Micro OLED displays at 4K resolution (per eye)
  • FOV: 120-degrees, similar to Valve Index
  • Chipset: Two 5nm chips. Includes a main SoC (CPU, GPU, and memory) and a dedicated image signal processor (ISP). Chips communicate via a custom streaming codec to combat latency.
  • Battery: Waist-mounted battery, connected via MagSafe-like power cable to the headset’s headband. Two-hour max battery life, although hotswappable for longer sessions.
  • PassthroughISP chip contains custom high-bandwidth memory made by SK Hynix, providing low latency color passthrough
  • Audio: H2 chip, providing ultra-low latency connection with the second-generation AirPods Pro and future AirPods models. No 3.5mm and possible no support for non-AirPod BT headphones.
  • ControllerApple is said to favor hand-tracking and voice recognition to control the headset, but it has tested a “wand” and a “finger thimble” as alternative control input methods.
  • Prescription Lenses: Magnetically attachable custom prescription lenses for glasses-wearers.
  • IPD Adjustment: Automatic, motorized adjustment to match the wearer’s interpupillary distance.
  • Eye Tracking: At least one camera per-eye for things like avatar presence and foveated rendering
  • Face & Body Tracking: More than a dozen cameras and sensors capture both facial expressions and body movements, including the user’s legs.
  • Room Tracking: Both short- and long-range LiDAR scanners to map surfaces and distances in three dimensions.
  • App Compatibility: Said to have the ability to run existing iOS apps in 2D.
  • Price: $3,000 – $4,000

Design Rumors

  • Outer Shell: Aluminum, glass, and carbon fiber to reduce its size and weight. Cameras are largely concealed for aesthetic reasons.
  • Presence DisplaysOutward-facing display can show user’s facial expressions and also presumably eye movements. Said to be an always-on display similar in latency and power draw of Apple Watch or iPhone 14 Pro.
  • Dedicated Passthrough Switch: Digital Crown-like dial on its right side to switch between VR and passthrough.
  • Headstrap: Various available, including consumer-focused headstrap similar in material to Apple Watch sport bands with built-in speakers. Unspecified, but different headstrap targeted at developers.
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Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 3,500 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • Apple being wishy-washy on this headset reveal is so annoying. Just release it or don’t at this point, they’re so late to the game that any new news basically means nothing at this point (to me, I know some people are very interested in it)

    • Absolutely.
      You can rest assured that Zuck’s cryin’ his eyes out with joy today. lol

      • Lucio Pascarelli

        Not sure. Although the Quest 3 is a different device in terms of performance and price, it really depends on what users judge to be value for money. If I were Meta I would prefer to release Quest 3 AFTER the Reality Pro, precisely to undermine a $3000 headset with a $400 one. But the same holds true for Apple, and maybe this is a good reason for Apple delaying.

    • Nevets

      They haven’t been wishy-washy. They haven’t announced anything. There may be PR messaging going on behind the scenes closer to the announcement, but this sort of flip-flopping is the result of rumours – and while it’s possible they might be based on genuine leak-lets, I don’t see any evidence those are being engineered by Apple’s comms team.

  • toastytoaster

    We’ve heard several reasons for delays before. Such as software issues, hardware issues, overheating.

    This time the excuse doesn’t make any sense. “Because Apple isn’t very optimistic about the AR/MR headset announcement recreating the astounding “iPhone moment,””

    How will delaying it help make it recreate the iphone moment and make them more optimistic about it? It makes zero logical sense, so either he’s wrong about the reason for the delay, or this is an indefinite postponing of the project like with Apple Car, and either Kuo and/or Apple don’t want to phrase it as such, in case external factors (such as unexpected growth of the market thanks to other firms like Meta) will create enough justification to go ahead with the release in the near future.

    • Blaexe

      It does make sense if the software side is not compelling enough. They need to show actual use cases that make people want it. And then it has to live up to the use cases and quality shown.

      • Bumpy

        This^^^. If they want iPhone like saturation, they better have a dozen useful and functional apps that the average Joe will want to use.

        • metaphysician67

          yeah but why? the OG iPhone didn’t have any apps with it other than Safari and iTunes. and no other VR device has those either. games yes. apps – not really, or at not at the level that they’d be considered a threat.

          • Blaexe

            People are way more sceptical of headsets than they were of phones, so you need more to convince them.

      • toastytoaster

        I don’t think you read the message right. I didn’t say it is compelling or not compelling, I said the reason given for the delay makes no sense, because two extra months won’t make the headset into an iphone-level hit.

        • Blaexe

          I did read it right. They’re concerned about “the readiness of the ecosystem and applications” and that’s the only point they can actually improve in a couple of months.

          And that can make a big difference. The headset can be great – doesn’t matter if there’s no compelling software.

          • toastytoaster

            Two months is absolutely not enough to create compelling software which currently doesn’t exist. Go look up the average duration of software development.

          • Blaexe

            I’m not saying it doesn’t exist. I’m saying it’s not ready.

          • toastytoaster

            And like I’ve said from the very beginning and just now, 2 months is not enough to make it any more ready.

    • Till Eulenspiegel

      “How will delaying it help make it recreate the iphone moment?”

      It’s all about public’s perception. You launched a product with a bang – a really desirable product that everyone lust for. The iPhone was expensive – it’s 5x the price of an average phone in 2007 but it’s sold out.

      The problem with VR is that it’s been around for a long time. The 1st wave was in the 90s. Then 10 years ago, Oculus started the 2nd wave. It’s not a new thing anymore, the general public perceives VR as a tech novelty. You have to put yourself in the shoes of the average joe – that’s how they perceived VR. It’s never going to achieve the iPhone moment, people have no desire to be that guy with a box strapped to his face.

      • toastytoaster

        You didn’t answer anything. Your answer to “how will delaying help recreate the iphone moment” is “it’s never going to achieve the iphone moment”. That’s not a logical answer to why they think delaying helps. Read your comment before posting.

        • Till Eulenspiegel

          You launched a product with a bang – a really desirable product that everyone lust for.

          By delaying and improving it you create a better product vs an expensive beta that no one desires.

          • toastytoaster

            You’re just making random statements which are true on their own but are unrelated to what you are responding to. Make an actual clear point in response to an actual point above. First you say “it’s never going to achieve the iphone moment”, then flip flop to “a delayed product is eventually good”. Completely unrelated incoherent messages. You’re not respecting my time here.

          • Till Eulenspiegel

            You certainly have a lot of time here to reply. lol

            Use you brain and decode my sentences:

            A delayed product is going to be better if they improved on it, but it’s not going to be an iPhone Moment that Apple is wishing for – VR has been around for a long time, it’s not new. When iPhone was launched, it took everyone by surprise that Apple is making phone – and a phone without buttons. VR is not going to have that kind of reaction.

          • toastytoaster

            “decode my sentences”

            Maybe try to make clear comments so people don’t have to waste time playing guessing games with you and trying to “decode” what you even meant. Seriously it looks like you typed these when half asleep. It’s a waste of time. So, in conclusion you’re not answering the question. The question was, since the leaker claims Apple is delaying for a specific reason, how would delaying for 2 more months solve that, your answer to that is that it won’t. So, to “decode” your message, either Kuo or Apple are lying, are stupid, or both. Got it, and it’s such a wild claim I’ll consider the question not actually addressed.

          • Till Eulenspiegel

            You got all your information wrong.

            macworld dot com/article/1655723/ar-vr-headset-2023-launch-design-team-tim-cook.html

            The Apple engineers don’t want it launch this year, they knew it’s not a good enough product. Tim Cook is under pressure from investors to launch it this year.

          • Nevets

            Stop it or I’ll bang both your heads together!

    • Martin

      I honestly just think the tech isn’t there yet, and there’s a strong possibility it’s something that two big companies, Meta and Apple, thought would be the next big thing, only to discover that people just genuinely don’t want to put devices on their faces. Google glass scared people, Facebook Cambridge analytica scandal, modifying the news feed to mess with people’s emotions, the constant privacy concerns of the company, the fact that they’ve put all their money on this one tech, only to have horizons to show for it, with I’m sure no more than 100 users at any given time, etc etc….it’s just not panning out how they thought it would.

      I don’t want a pair of glasses to replace a smartphone. I hate wearing glasses, let alone a large box on my face, and contact lenses are even worse.

      The tech doesn’t match humanity and/or biology. This is an example of trying to be first with 3D TV dominance, only to find that people just didn’t want it. But because two large companies said it would be the next big thing, people followed suit.

      I have a quest 2. I bought the lenses for Google cardboard when it first came out and made my own versions of the headsets. Totally nerded out on it. But I’m bored of it now.

      I think in the same way the iPhone happened due to the maturity of the individual technologies needed coming together, with a splash of really hard work to put it all together at an affordable price point, there needs to be the same conditions for AR/VR.

      Adolescent males drive most tech adoption and sales until the mainstream killer app comes along to bring most others into the fold and bring dollars to mature the tech further. i.e. smartphones.

      This new tech can be profound, no doubt. Staycations, education, connection with loved ones, virtual space travel, productivity, and a million use cases yet to be discovered, enabled by new tech and epiphany.

      But I think Apple IS realizing that bringing a new product to market at the precipice of an economic downturn isn’t exactly smart. So they’re going to do what they have been doing, taking this unfortunate opportunity to ensure they have their iPhone moment.

      The fact is though that Steve isn’t in charge of Apple anymore, and Tim just doesn’t have that thing that can push Apple to be the leaders of the next big thing.

      My personal feeling, and it’s just opinion, so by all means rebut, is that this “next big thing” is a push for something that’s being manufactured out of necessity as a result of maturity of current tech. Plateau is kryptonite for software companies. Trying to create a new “need” and being first to fill it doesn’t mean that it will work. There are fundamental needs that have been met and are at the core of all successful businesses. Food, communication, shelter, clothing and transportation.

      Though AR/VR fall into the communication sector, it’s not really ready to be what it’s envisioned to be. I personally think we won’t recognize what we currently call AR/VR in the future, when or if, it becomes something humanity embraces, because the true nature of its value will have manifested and found its “biological preference” in terms of use and meaning.

      We have to start somewhere, but I can’t see horizons, offices full of people with boxes on their faces, people filming every second, of every day, of everyone, by way of everyone walking around with glasses on their faces “digitally watching” each other.

      I think long term, this kind of tech will be revealed as just a small part of a much larger merger of individual tech, just like the iPhone (GPS, microprocessor, gyro, cellular, etc) was.

      What we’re becoming as a species is changing faster than, ironically, technology can keep up with, in terms of trying to create ecosystems you can now extract economic wealth from. There’s coming a time when we live post consumerism, where technology becomes what it’s supposed to be…species advancement without the constraints of greed, power, control and violence as its source of purpose and meaning.

      “The acquisition of wealth is no longer the driving force of our lives. We work to better ourselves and the rest of humanity.”

      – Capt. Jean-Luc Picard

      Star Trek: First Contact (1996 Film).

      Some days I worry about our future, and other days I can see what’s possible and smile.

      But regardless of outcome, one thing I’m certain of, is that whichever outcome results, neither contains humans as biological systems. And once that threshold has been passed, everything before it becomes mute because it’s left to the confines of biology.

      Ok I’ve gone off the deep end, lol. Time for coffee and work. Have a great day! :D

  • another juan

    so, Tim Cook is desperate to have his own “iphone moment”, against half the company’s good sense?
    It will be very interesting to watch how it all ends.

  • I’ve just never felt good about this currently reported-only new Apple product.

    To be fair, I’ve not felt good about any new Apple products in a long time.

  • JakeDunnegan

    There’s a recession coming (again). Never good to introduce new products in a recession.

    • Kfir Even

      It’s gonna last a year or two at least, so does everything stop now?

      • gothicvillas

        US dollar is expected to lose tons of value in the next 12 months

      • JakeDunnegan

        That’s called strawman arguing. I never said “everything should stop” due to a recession. It will have impacts on when/how to release new products, however. Certainly impacts price and viability.

  • Octogod

    This is a purposeful leak of bad info, since WWDC was announced. It’s there to counter the rumor mill.

    I believe it’ll debut and do well.

    • Jistuce

      So what you’re saying is “fake news”?

  • guest

    Obviously internal conflicts from existing product lines. Same reason XR has been failing at all the other big tech dinosaurs!

    • alxslr

      Just hope Q3 ships before the next VR winter :-(

  • Lol, it’s always delayed

    • XRC

      Maybe Appletime is a thing? Like Valvetime…

      • ViRGiN

        apple never promised wireless vr, neither claimed it’s a solved problem in 2017, unlike that big ass boring corporation known as valve.

        • LMAO

          Ignorant troll alert!

  • Till Eulenspiegel

    Admit it guys – the VR bubble had burst.

    • Lucio Pascarelli

      Please pin this post to your wall 10 years from now…

      Of course, you could be right, and Meta, Apple, Microsoft, Google, HTC, not to mention all the others, have been wrong in investing $billions in what they think is the logical successor to a 2d touch interface.

      • Till Eulenspiegel

        I like VR, I use it almost everyday but I don’t think it’s going to be the next big thing like the iPhone. As a gaming accessory like the PSVR, it’s relevant – but it’s not going to be mainstream like the iPhone. Zuckerberg betted everything on it being the next big thing, he is bleeding money everyday since then.

        First is the comfort, and then the hygiene problem – people don’t like to share their headset. It’s not like a phone or an iPad you can pass around. Some people just can’t use it because of motion sickness. Even when they reduced it to the size of a pair of glasses – it still won’t be widely accepted.

        It’s a wearable device, unlike a smartwatch, it’s on your face. Look at the 3DTV, it is now a dinosaur – even with spectacular 3D effect, people don’t like it because you have to wear glasses.

        • ViRGiN

          you mofo, zuckerberg knew he will be “loosing” aka investing/bleeding money for many years to come, and here your sorry ass is portraying it as losing the bet entirely cause it’s 2023.

          it’s not like people are sharing PHONES either lol, everyone has their own for years now. there are multiple tvs in most households as well. you are just insane.

          3dtv didn’t catch on cause nobody wanted to make proper videos for it – most 3d movies were post-filming conversions, and noone has invented any true process to convert 2D to 3D to this day.

          • Till Eulenspiegel

            If you see something interesting in your phone, you can show it to your friends, can’t you? Can you do that when you are wearing your VR headset?

          • ViRGiN

            yes, even on the said phone. casting is a thing. and i don’t know what kind of germophobe you have to be to not let your friends that you are demoing vr to use it for 15 minutes or so. you never clean headset after yourself? bathing in your own sweat for years?

            early smartphones had a non-existing viewing angles and small screens that looking at the phone was a single person experience as well.

          • Till Eulenspiegel

            You said it, it requires a phone.

            Since you clean your toothbrush after every use, you must be sharing it with friends and family.

          • ViRGiN

            I guess you and your wife/daughter/son/mother/roommate has their own separate toilet

          • Till Eulenspiegel

            Of course, we live in a big house. lol

          • ViRGiN

            lol, you share house with others? digsusting.

    • Yacko

      Remember, this isn’t just a VR device. It has assisted reality, perhaps to various degrees. You are meant to walk around with it. Interact with people with it. Hopefully the device has some AI to know when you are trying to drive with the glasses and will shut down. Baby steps, maybe some day you can drive with AR. Or maybe not, still waiting for self driving vehicles.

    • Jistuce

      It has. There was a lot of unfounded optimism a few years back, and a lot of people placed some big bets that didn’t pay out.

      A burst bubble doesn’t mean a market doesn’t exist and can’t grow. Tell Amazon that the dot-com bubble’s burst and the party’s over, or Nintendo that the video game fad crashed and isn’t coming back.

      Sony and Metabook both seem convinced there’s value in continuing to invest in the market, so I assume they have sales data that shows this to be a profitable endeavor with room for growth.

  • gothicvillas

    Apple has to start somewhere. I dont expect their 1st headset to be “the headset”. It will take a few iterations before they hit that sweet spot. Delaying the launch could mean they have given up for a time being perhaps.

    • Jistuce

      Modern Apple doesn’t think like that. They don’t want to launch anything that isn’t publicly considered a big deal.
      Be it an iterative update to a PDA, an iterative update to a notebook computer(this time with a working keyboard, we swear!), a late entry into the smartwatch market, overly-minimalist wireless headphones, it’s a marketing circus and the media is collectively gushing over why everyone needs to take out a loan to buy the latest Apple thing.

      They’ve probably correctly deduced that they can’t generate that kind of hype for a VR headset right now, and rather than tarnish their reputation as a must-have fashion brand, they’re going to push this back. Let others build the market to a critical mass, then once there’s adequate actual mainstream interest, fire up the marketing engine and push a bunch of VR-interested people over the edge.

  • Cless

    “Unannounced HMD gets imaginary launch date postponed”
    Christ I want the fucking thing to come out so people can shut up about it already.