Apple Headset is Far from Tim Cook’s Original Vision, Says Report

Apple is on the verge of a significant technological breakthrough with the upcoming launch of its mixed-reality headset, according to sources familiar with the matter who spoke to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman.

The device, expected to be marketed under the name “Reality,” will operate on a new xrOS operating system and is projected to retail for around $3,000 USD (about $4,055 CAD, yikes).

The headset has reportedly strayed from CEO Tim Cook’s original vision of a pair of unobtrusive eyeglasses wearable throughout the day. Instead, the device has evolved into a headset resembling ski goggles, requiring a separate battery pack, that is unlike Apple’s simplistic and minimal designs.

The release of this product is being touted as a key moment for Cook’s legacy as Apple CEO and for the iPhone maker itself. The project has been a multibillion, seven-year development process. Some insiders view it as the possible foundation of life after the iPhone.

The headset is designed for continuous all-day wear, replacing daily tasks typically performed on an iPhone or a Mac. It will feature hand and eye control and run many of the kinds of apps found on Apple’s other devices.

Originally, Apple had hoped to sell about 3 million units annually. However, this estimate has been scaled back to about 1 million, and then further to 900,000 units. The reason? It’s hard making a mixed-reality headset and Apple has faced production challenges, say sources.

Cook’s involvement in the specific design of the headset was reportedly minimal, a departure from the hands-on approach of late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. Other top Apple executives, such as Craig Federighi, senior vice president for software engineering, have also kept their distance from the project.

Apple had initially planned to develop stand-alone glasses, but this idea was largely abandoned due to technological and practical challenges. Insiders suggest that any such product from Apple is at least four years away if it happens at all.

In March, Apple previewed the mixed-reality headset to its top 100 executives says Gurman, with plans to begin selling it in the coming months.

When will the headset debut? It’s slated to be unveiled at WWDC next month. Let’s hope Canada is part of the official launch, for the crazy ones ready to drop some coin on a pricey Apple headset. Are you going to buy one, regardless of cost?