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Apple is reportedly set to unveil its highly anticipated Reality Pro headset at this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June. The headset’s debut has been delayed numerous times, but according to a new investor note from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, this announcement “is the last hope” for the AR/VR headset market.
Kuo outlines that other major players in the AR and VR headset market, such as Sony and Meta, have struggled to gain widespread adoption. “The product lifecycle shipment for Meta’s Quest Pro is only around 300,000 units”, Kuo notes. Sony has also reportedly slashed its 2023 production plan for the PlayStation VR2 headset by 20%, and China’s largest AR/VR headset brand, Pico, saw its shipments for 2022 come in 40% lower than expected.
With these struggles in mind, Kuo predicts that the future of the AR/VR headset market rests solely in the hands of Apple’s Reality Pro headset. “There is currently insufficient evidence to suggest that AR/VR headsets can become the next star product in consumer electronics in the foreseeable future”, Kuo explains. “Apple’s announcement event is likely the last hope for convincing investors that the AR/MR headset device could have a chance to be the next star product in consumer electronics”.
Kuo also cautions that the market may be overestimating the impact that AR and VR headset devices will have on key component suppliers over the next few years, particularly in the optical-related field.
Apple’s first Reality Pro headset is expected to be an ultra-premium product priced at around $3,000. It will feature an “innovative three-display configuration” with two 4K Micro-LED panels. However, there is some doubt surrounding the headset’s success, even within Apple itself. Reports suggest that CEO Tim Cook and COO Jeff Williams have pushed for the release of this device, despite it not being as well-rounded as designers and engineers would like it to be.
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In addition to the Reality Pro headset, Apple is also reportedly working on a more affordable headset product. However, this product is not expected to be ready for mass production until at least 2025.
Apple’s announcement at WWDC in June will be highly anticipated, as the company looks to stake its claim in the AR/VR headset market and potentially revolutionize the consumer electronics industry once again.