Work continues on Apple’s virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies, but the latter may be delayed yet again.
- Apple has reportedly been developing VR and AR technologies for years, facing multiple delays and problems along the way, putting them behind the curve of Facebook’s Oculus Rift and SteamVR.
- The company filed several patents in 2022 under the names “Reality One,” “Reality Pro,” and “Reality Processor,” which led analysts to predict that a reveal or launch is set for 2023.
- As Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reports though, Apple’s AR technology may be further postponed to 2024 or later. The company is struggling to produce a consumer-friendly and affordable AR product that can be worn as lightweight glasses that can be used in public.
- “Apple’s initial dream of offering a lightweight pair of AR glasses that people could wear all day now appears many years away—if it happens at all,” says Gurman.
Why It’s Important
Apple has been behind the curve on virtual reality for several years. SteamVR was released in April 2016, and Oculus Rift launched in October 2016. The technology has already spurred years of innovation, with the technology being widely applied in non-entertainment purposes for engineering and medical applications.
As we previously reported, Apple has yet to reveal a new product since the Apple Watch in 2014, instead focusing on updated versions of its existing products like the iPhone, iPad, and MacBook. The company believes that VR and AR could place them at the forefront of innovative technologies again, writes Bloomberg.
Augmented-reality glasses work by overlaying information onto a pair of light glasses that can be worn in public. This technology promises a massive paradigm-shifting innovation in the way people interact with technology on par with the way iPhones have changed human communication. Still, previous technological attempts, such as Google Glass, did not work. Gurman predicts that the price tag could sit as high as $3,000 and make it into a niche product.
“The company is focusing on the lower-cost headset instead of the AR glasses, which were once planned to be released about a year after the initial headset, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the project is still under wraps. At one point, Apple aimed to release the glasses in 2023, before delaying the launch until around 2025. Now, Apple has postponed the rollout indefinitely and pared back its work on the AR device,” says Gurman.