Apple has cast a shadow over the virtual and augmented reality worlds for the past two years without releasing a product, but in the coming months, that anticipated threat is expected to become a real one, which could impact Meta’s plans for dominance of the metaverse.
Apple is expected to finally unveil its mixed-reality headset this spring, with retail availability beginning in the fall, per a report from Bloomberg.
Apple has spent the last seven years developing the device, which has let Meta take a leadership position in the VR space—with Sony, HTC, and others also making strides. Apple, though, has a history of waiting for a product field to develop somewhat before stepping in, and many observers say they expect it to quickly rival Meta’s market share.
Meta has not announced the number of headsets it has sold, but IDC analyst Francisco Jeronimo estimated the number at 15 million last June.
Bloomberg reports that Apple’s headset will be called Reality Pro, and it will be the chief focus for the company this year, with only minimal updates coming for other products like the iPad, Watch, and TV.
Apple was initially expected to unveil its mixed-reality headset as early as 2020, but it was repeatedly delayed, even as recently as last year. The expected announcement at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) this June is a bit later than initially planned, and originally, Apple was said to be considering a January event.
A June announcement could let Apple showcase the gaming software prominently, as E3, the video game industry’s annual conference, is scheduled to take place the week after WWDC.
Apple’s headset is expected to be a lot more than just games. Beyond virtual reality, it will offer augmented reality tools, such as apps that let you visualize a room with a different color of paint or to preview how a piece of furniture would look in a room.
Our new weekly Impact Report newsletter examines how ESG news and trends are shaping the roles and responsibilities of today’s executives. Subscribe here.