Apple may delay headset launch as it fears it won’t have an ‘iPhone moment’, rumour claims

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Apple may delay the launch of its widely-rumoured headset amid fears it won’t get an “iPhone moment”, according to a new report.

For years, Apple has been said to be working on a new device that will strap to people’s heads and show them “mixed reality” content, featuring the real world and virtual objects. Recent rumours have suggested that it could come in an expensive version at first, targeted at developers and specialist uses, and then followed by a cheaper one.

The headset had been widely rumoured to be at least revealed during Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference, in June.

But a new report, posted just a day after Apple revealed the date of that WWDC event, suggests that Apple may not consider the headset ready for that event and could push back the launch.

The company is concerned about a range of factors, including the economic downturn and hardware compromises inside the device, according to the same report.

Apple “isn’t very optimistic” about the headset recreating the buzz of the iPhone launch, according to usually reliable analyst Ming-chi Kuo. He suggested that the production schedule has been pushed back by another one or two months, which would take it towards the end of the third quarter of this year.

“The delay also adds uncertainty to whether the new device will appear at WWDC 2023, as the market widely expects,” he wrote in a post on Twitter.

The delay will also mean that Apple is likely to sell fewer of the headsets this year. It is expecting to sell between 200,000 and 300,000 of the headset, he said in the same post, compared with market estimates that have suggested it could sell half a million in the first year.

The concerns at Apple come from a variety of directions, he suggested. They include the “economic downturn, compromises on some hardware specifications for mass production (such as weight), the readiness of the ecosystem and applications” as well as the high price, which is expected to be set at $4,000 or even more.

The latest rumours of a delay comes after a string of reports that suggest some within Apple feel the headset is being rushed ahead of its launch, and that it would be better to wait for a more consumer version of the headset.