We Should Still Expect Apple’s First Headset at WWDC: Gurman

In this week’s edition of his Power On newsletter, Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman said he believes Apple is still on track to unveil its first mixed-reality headset at this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC).

The headset will be a risky, but potentially monumental launch for Apple. It will herald mixed reality as its next major product category, offering a glimpse of a future where people are interacting with the world via headsets and not pocketable touch screens.

Earlier this week, Apple announced that WWDC 2023 will kick off on June 5. According to Gurman, the event will see Apple show off not only its first AR/VR headset but also the onboard xrOS operating system that will power it, companion apps and services, and a software development kit and platform for developers to create apps for the new device.

This comes after TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said earlier this week that Apple might not showcase its much-anticipated headset at WWDC due to production delays. Last week, Gurman reported that Apple demonstrated a fairly final version of the headset to roughly 100 of its highest-ranking executives at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California.

Gurman also spotted some potential references to the headset in the artwork for Apple’s WWDC 2023 announcement. In addition, Apple’s announcement positioned this year’s WWDC as a momentous event.

Susan Prescott, Apple’s head of developer relations, called this year’s conference the company’s “biggest and most exciting yet,” adding that the tech giant “can’t wait” to host “this very special event.”

Gurman thinks Apple’s foray into mixed reality will face a slow start, and Apple is reportedly only planning to move about one million units of its first headset in the 12 months following its launch.

Apple’s first AR/VR headset will be targeted at professionals and is expected to cost a whopping $3,000 USD (a little over $4,000 CAD). It will run off a replaceable, tethered battery pack that will only offer up to two hours of backup, but it will also 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 went on to note that beyond the headset, Apple is also working on several new Macs that are scheduled to launch around the middle of this year. These could include a new MacBook Air and the first Mac Pro with Apple Silicon.