Apple Demos Headset to Top Executives at Steve Jobs Theater: Report

In this week’s edition of his Power On newsletter, Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman reported that Apple last week showed off its upcoming mixed-reality headset to the “Top 100,” which comprises approximately 100 of the company’s highest-ranking executives, at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California.

The milestone demonstration indicates that we’re inching closer to a public unveiling, which Gurman and other analysts believe could take place at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June.

According to Gurman, this was far from the first time top Apple execs got a look at Apple’s debut AR/VR headset.

But this time was different. Earlier demonstrations were lower-key affairs, meant to show progress and secure the headcount needed to keep going. The latest preview took place in the Steve Jobs Theater, Apple’s biggest showcase, suggesting that a public unveiling is getting close.

Apple’s first AR/VR headset, which will reportedly be called the “Reality Pro” or “Reality One,” has been nearly eight years and billions of dollars in the making. The company’s foray into AR/VR is unlike anything it has done before, and its first headset will have a lot going against it.

For starters, Apple’s first AR/VR headset is expected to cost a whopping $3,000 USD (a little over $4,000 CAD) and run off a replaceable, tethered battery pack that will only offer up to two hours of backup.

For that price, however, the device will come chock full of high-end components and features — from multiple 4K OLED displays to an array of more than a dozen camera modules, eye-tracking functionality, and more.

Gurman also noted that some initial testers have described the “Reality Pro” headset’s design as uncomfortable, which could present yet another challenge for Apple.

Per a report from earlier this month, Apple CEO Tim Cook has been pushing for the company to get its first AR/VR headset out on the market despite internal objections.

It’s quite clear that Apple’s first headset won’t exactly meet the company’s vision for the platform at launch, and the company only expects to sell about a million units in the first year following its release. Gurman still expects the “Reality Pro” to put Apple at the forefront of the mixed reality market, though.

Executives at Apple, meanwhile, aren’t expecting consumer interest in its AR/VR offerings to really pick up until the company launches more headsets farther down the line.

According to reports, Apple could launch a second-generation premium headset as well as a more affordable option by 2025. Gurman suggested that these models could land sometime within two years of the first headset’s launch.