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Apple Headset faces more delays due to software

Apple’s long-awaited AR/VR headset might be facing another round of delays. According to the latest supply chain data gathered by Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple may have delayed mass shipments of its headset to the second half of 2023 as it works to resolve software-related issues. Kuo had previously expected mass shipments to begin in the second quarter of 2023.

Bloomberg reported last week that Apple’s headset will run on the “xrOS” platform, rather than the previously-reported “realityOS” name. This is a change that the company reportedly made internally in recent weeks. Not to be confused with the iPhone XR, Bloomberg says the “xr” in this case stands for “extended reality.”

According to Kuo, changes and bugs within xrOS have caused Apple to delay mass shipments of its headset to the second half of 2023. Kuo doesn’t give any specific reasoning, but the assumption is made based on his latest supply chain survey of Apple’s manufacturing partners.

It’s important to remember that a delay in mass shipments doesn’t necessarily mean that Apple’s headset won’t be announced in the first half half of the year. Apple can always announce the product months ahead of actual availability, and that’s something it’s done in the past with products like the Apple Watch.

With that being said, however, Kuo worries that an announcement in January, as has been speculated, may be too early and ultimately be “detrimental to promotion and sales.”

It still needs to be determined whether the media event schedule (previously estimated in January 2023) will also delay, but usually, if the time frame between the media event and end product mass shipment is too long, it’s detrimental to promotion and sales.

Kuo also reiterates today that the Apple headset is expected to be a very niche product. He predicts that shipments of the device will be “less than 500,000 units” in 2023. Kuo’s prediction is below the consensus of other analysts, which range from 800,000 to 1.2 million units.

9to5Mac’s Take

It’s clearly taking Apple longer than anticipated to perfect the first version of its mixed-reality headset, but that shouldn’t be surprising. It’s an all-new product category for the company, which is something that doesn’t happy often. With competition already on the market from the likes of Meta, there’s a clear need for Apple to have a strong start with its own AR/VR hardware.

I also think it’s worth pointing out that Apple can continue to test and even launch new AR and VR features on its other platforms in the interim. This means users can see what sort of things can be done with AR/VR technology and developers can test the tech before the dedicated headset is actually available.

What do you make of the latest rumors and reporting on Apple’s headset? Are you still interested in seeing what the company has up its sleeve? Let us know down in the comments.

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