“The most complicated product Apple’s ever designed” unveiling in January 2023?

An Apple headset announcement could happen in January, which is the same month the Cupertino company unveiled the original iPhone back in 2007.

A head-worn mixed reality Apple headset device is imagined in this concept
Image credit: Andrea Copellino / Behance
  • Ming-Chi Kuo, the most reliable Apple analyst on the planet, has predicted that Apple’s rumored mixed-reality headset will be announced in January 2023.
  • Earlier predictions called for a launch sometime in 2022. That said, development issues and setbacks have reportedly delayed the official introduction.
  • Kuo says the accessory will be “the most complicated product Apple has ever designed.” The accessory should be ultra-lightweight, combine augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) functions and have top-notch hardware, sporting dual 8K OLED displays and a bunch of cameras for eye and hand tracking.

Apple headset announcement in January 2023?

Kuo notes that an Apple-branded mixed-reality device would have “vast potential demand in the Chinese market” Kuo writes. Calling the rumored device “the most complicated product Apple has ever designed,” Kuo said it would be “a game-changer for the headset industry” due to its sophisticated hardware specifications.

Although Apple has repeatedly reiterated its focus on augmented reality, I believe AR/MR supporting video see-thru could also offer an excellent immersive experience. Therefore, the launch of Apple AR/MR will further boost the demand for immersive gaming/multimedia entertainment.

A launch in January 2023 is Kuo’s prediction. Apple hasn’t announced anything and it should be noted that no hardware parts for the rumored headset have leaked so far. Kuo’s original tweet was a bit ambiguous due to language issues so he followed up to clarify that the headset will actually be announced rather than launched in January.

If true, an Apple headset would arrive just as Meta’s own headset business seems to be slowing down, with shipment forecast cut by forty percent for 2022. Meta now expects to ship 7-8 million headset units versus its earlier prediction calling for 10-11 million units in 2022. On top of that, Meta froze new hirings in the metaverse division, holding off all-new headset hardware projects after 2024.

“My shipment prediction is based on my survey and judgment, not official data,” according to Ming-Chi Kuo’s Twitter.

Wow, is this for real this time around?

If you believe the rumors, an Apple headset initially started as a virtual reality accessory tethered to a standalone computing unit. Later versions were reportedly focused on augmented reality, relying on iPhone for computing power. The most recent prototype is allegedly a standalone product that can function on its own.

The device reportedly packs in the company’s M1 chip, powerful graphics, sensors, speakers, batteries and so on. Hints of its custom software, dubbed RealityOS, are all over the place, including the iOS 16 beta. The headset team reportedly demoed the latest headset prototype to Apple’s board members in what could be the final not of approval before it enters production.

“Stay tuned”

Even CEO Tim Cook is no longer coy about the headset, hyping its augmented reality technology to the Chinese state-run China Daily whilst teasing an Apple-branded headset. “I think that we’re still in the very early innings of how this technology will evolve,” he said. “I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunities we’ve seen in this space, and sort of stay tuned and you’ll see what we have to offer.”