Apple’s recent issues with the development of its mixed-reality headset were recently detailed in a new report. The device, previously expected to be released sometime in 2022, is facing both technical and leadership challenges. It is now expected that the mixed-reality headset will be released next year.
Apple’s mixed-reality headset could be released by 2023
Apple has been working on an AR/VR headset for quite some time now but the device has faced numerous setbacks in development. A new report from The Information delves into some of the prominent issues the tech giant has faced developing its headset.
For example, the team working on the headset, led by former Dolby executive Mike Rockwell, had to fight to receive help from other Apple employees. Until 2017, the team was also isolated from Apple’s headquarters as it worked out of office buildings in Sunnyvale, California, which allegedly “helped preserve the group’s invisibility to the rest of Apple.”
In early 2018, for example, one of Rockwell’s team members asked Apple’s camera hardware engineering group to add a firmware feature that would improve the speed with which the headset’s cameras could capture images and reproject them in a display. Rockwell’s group wanted to include the feature in a prototype headset ahead of an important demo for Apple’s top 100 employees, known as the T100. The member of Rockwell’s group was told the headset wasn’t a priority and his group would have to wait until after the iPhone XS shipped later that year.
Former Apple design chief Jony Ive shut down the idea of making the device a VR headset because it “alienated users from other people by cutting them off from the outside world, made users look unfashionable, and lacked practical uses.” Ultimately, the team decided to develop a mixed-reality device.
The report also notes challenges faced with the headset’s battery technology. The team considered adding swappable batteries to the headset which would enable users to wear it for up to eight hours per day. However, that idea was scrapped in favor of a battery that lasts “several hours.” The wearable is now expected to see a 2023 release.
This is not the first time issues have been reported with the development of Apple’s mixed-reality headset. Bloomberg has previously reported that the device could be delayed due to issues with overheating, software and cameras.