Apple Headset Being Pushed to Launch by Tim Cook: Report

Apple CEO Tim Cook is pushing the company to launch its mixed-reality headset this year despite internal objections, according to a report from the Financial Times that positions the upcoming product as Cook’s legacy.

According to the report, Apple has been working on its AR/VR headset since 2016 but has delayed its launch year after year due to a creative struggle internally.

While Apple’s operations team has wanted to ship a “version one” mixed-reality headset with basic 3D video capabilities and interactive avatar chat via FaceTime, the company’s industrial design team has wanted to wait until a more lightweight version of AR glasses becomes possible.

Per Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman, Apple’s longtime hardware design chief, Sir Jony Ive, pushed the company to develop AR glasses in 2018 because he didn’t see VR as valuable long-term.

Apple ultimately pushed forward with a mixed-reality headset “but compromised with Ive on making it an all-in-one and dropped a wireless processor hub,” said Gurman. Ive left the company in 2019.

Apple is widely expected to unveil its first mixed-reality headset at this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), which usually takes place in June. Cook has sided with Apple operations chief Jeff Williams in moving forward with the launch, per sources, overruling objections from the company’s shrinking design team to wait for AR/VR technology to catch up with its vision.

“They have a huge pressure to ship” the headset at Apple, a former engineer for the company who worked on developing the upcoming product told the Financial Times. “They have been postponing the launch each year for the past [few] years.”

As Apple launches its foray into the AR/VR space, the company is only expecting to sell around one million units of its debut headset in the first year, according to two sources with knowledge of the company’s planning. That would be less volume than the first-generation iPhone or Apple Watch moved in the 12 months following their launch.

What’s more, Apple’s first headset is said to come with a whopping $3,000 USD price tag. For that price, it will come chock full of top-of-the-line components and features — from multiple 4K OLED displays to an array of more than a dozen camera modules, eye-tracking functionality, and more.

Reports coming out of the rumour mill suggest that Apple will follow up its first mixed-reality headset with multiple entry-level and premium options in 2025.

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