Apple’s extended reality headset should start shipping in the second half of 2023 following a January introduction

Shipments of an Apple headset should start in the second half of 2023 instead of the second quarter due to unspecified software problems and procurement issues.

A head-worn mixed reality Apple headset device is imagined in this concept
Apple’s headset may drop a bit later than anticipated | Image: Andrea Copellino / Behance
  • What’s happening? Reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says mass shipments of Apple’s extended-reality headset could kick off in the second half of 2023.
  • Why care? An Apple headset was supposed to start shipping in the second quarter of 2023, but the device has been postponed to the latter half of the year due to unspecified “software-related issues.”
  • What to do? Grab your popcorn and get ready for a January announcement.

Mass shipments of an Apple headset delayed

Kuo has some of the most trustworthy sources in Apple’s supply chain providing him with confidential information which enables the analyst to predict the company’s product moves much more reliably than other Apple analysts out there.

Based on supply chain surveys, the latest prediction shared on Kuo’s Twitter suggests that mass shipments of the mixed-reality device may be pushed to the second half of 2023 vs. the previous estimate of the second quarter of 2023. The analyst chalks up the delay to “software-related issues,” which doesn’t surprise us.

Apple is building a whole new software platform from scratch that will incorporate a dedicated operating system, an app store with third-party apps, APIs for developers to create apps for the device and more. Creating such a comprehensive software platform takes a lot of time, money and effort so delays are expected.

Will an Apple headset be unveiled in January?

It’s not all software’s fault—Kuo has learned that mass shipments of components for the device are expected sometime in the first half of the first quarter of next year.

“But due to postponed mass shipment schedule of the end product,” Kuo writes, shipment forecast for Apple’s headset should be less than 500,000 units in 2023 vs. the market consensus of between 800,000 and 1.2 million units.

In other words, the final assembly is going to take longer than anticipated. Kuo notes that the planned January 2023 introduction could be pushed back as well. Usually, he says, too long a wait between the media event and mass shipments is “detrimental” to promotion and sales. On the other hand, the original Apple Watch was announced in September and released in April, that’s a seven-month wait time.

Apple headsets will run the xrOS platform

Apple’s headset is said to run custom software called xrOS, or Extended Reality Operating System. Hardware-wide, an Apple headset should be a top-notch accessory with two 8K micro-OLED screens, a custom chip providing an Apple M1-like performance, as well as internal and external cameras for hand and eye tracking.

The device should be significantly lighter and more compact than the existing headsets. The price should be high, with the first version of the product expected to sell for between $2,500 and $3,000. Apple will probably aim the first version at early adopters and developers so they could build third-party content while the company is readying more affordable iterations. Watch: 50 iPhone tips and tricks