Tue. Jun 6th, 2023

After eight years of wait, Apple is widely expected to unveil its first-ever mixed-reality (MR) headset at the developers’ conference this year. Now, months before the unveiling, a group of top executives, around 100 of them, reportedly gathered at the Steve Jobs Theatre last week to glance at the upcoming new product, likely to be named the Reality Pro or Reality One.
But, it seems the showcasing may not have gone as well for Apple as the company wanted. As reports suggest that Apple’s new gadget got mixed responses from the select group of executives who were part of the sneak peek.
Incidentally, it was not the first time that the headset was put in front of the executives. Mark Gurman of Bloomberg notes that these kinds of secret demos, known as “Fight Club demos,” have been going on since 2018, but these have been rather low-key affairs meant to show off the progress. This time around, the preview was held at the Steve Jobs Theatre, the biggest demo ever, notes Gurman. He also added that the headset could come sooner than thought.
Some Apple executives and engineers express doubts about the mixed-reality headset
Despite this demonstration, what Gurman termed “polished, glitzy, and exciting,” the executives are not happy with the headset and are worried about the challenges ahead of Apple. Some of the executives have questioned “if the new device is a solution in search of a problem,” reports the New York Times.
The departure of Jony Ive in 2019 and followed by Evans Hankey’s departure last year from “Apple’s product design team,” have contributed to scepticism about the headset. According to reports, the company has not appointed a new head of industrial design since then and has left the headset’s development under engineer Mike Rockwell.
The headset is said to cost exorbitantly high, starting at around $3,000 (around Rs 2,47,000). But, unlike other products from Apple, the headset is believed to so far lack a “killer” app. The design is said to be uncomfortable and requires an external battery pack, and there will not be much media content to consume on the headset first.
Apple Watch was not the finest product from the company initially and had a slow start, but it found takers over time. While the company expects the headset to have the same trajectory as the Apple Watch, the company would have to explain to people why they would even want to have such a product.
The employees and executives have doubts about the headset’s launch, leading some to speculate that it might be postponed. But, sources say that the headset manufacturing is underway, and the company is still planning to launch the device in June as scheduled.
A million units in a year, Apple’s expectations for its first headset
Apple expects to sell a million units of mixed-reality headsets in the first year. But even with the $3000 price tag, there would not be “little to no” margins, says Bloomberg. While generating $3 billion in revenue, the headset would only constitute a small portion of Apple’s $41.2 billion of wearables segment.
The first headset is said to be geared more toward developers. But, soon, Apple might follow up with a much more affordable headset, which should cost half as the first one, which should grow consumer interest, expects Apple executives. There is also a more powerful successor to the original headset in the pipeline.

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Tanushree K

By Tanushree


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