Apple is preparing to release highly anticipated mixed-reality headsets, priced at $3,000 each, which is three times the cost of a comparable product from rival Meta. Apple CEO Tim Cook is expected to unveil the cutting-edge technology at the upcoming Apple Worldwide Developers Conference on June 5, Bloomberg reported. The headsets are likely to be marketed under the name “Reality.” Apple aims to sell 3 million units in the first year, but has a contingency plan to scale back estimates to 1 million if necessary, which is significantly lower than the 41 million Apple Watches sold in 2022.
Apple envisions its mixed-reality headsets as a daily essential, replacing tasks typically performed on iPhones or Macs, such as FaceTime calls, email responses, gaming, and web browsing. This release comes in the wake of Meta’s introduction of a “portal to the company’s metaverse” in October 2022. Meta’s mixed-reality headset, known as Meta Quest Pro, debuted at $1,500 but saw a price reduction to $1,000 a few months later.
Reportedly in development for seven years, Apple’s high-priced headset deviates from CEO Tim Cook’s initial vision of sleek, all-day wearable glasses resembling prescription eyewear. Instead, it resembles ski goggles. When wearing the headset, users will be able to experience virtual reality and the physical world concurrently. The device will be powered by a separate battery pack, similar in size to an iPhone, attached to the goggles via a power cord.
Initially, Apple planned to integrate the battery into the headset but abandoned the idea to reduce weight and prevent overheating issues, as reported by Bloomberg. The first-generation product is said to be in an experimental phase, with Apple expecting a slower adoption rate compared to its highly successful Apple Watch. However, the company foresees the eventual widespread adoption of the headset, which could potentially contribute over $25 billion to Apple’s annual revenue.
Throughout the seven-year development process, Apple has invested billions of dollars in the project. Nevertheless, there is reportedly dissent among top executives within the company regarding the venture, according to Bloomberg.
Apple’s mixed-reality headsets will enter a competitive market, challenging similar offerings from rivals like the Microsoft HoloLens 2, which has specialized editions for workers wearing hardhats and has undergone testing by military personnel.