Apple might release a developer’s kit for its AR/VR headset several months before the device is available to purchase in the fourth quarter of 2022.
According to an Apple insider, the official details of Apple’s rumored AR/VR headset might be just a few months away, with an announcement possible in the first half of 2022. Apple has not mentioned specific hardware beyond expressing great interest in this new technology and continues to develop augmented reality hardware for its iPhone, iPad and development software for its Mac computers.
Virtual reality is becoming a common term even if the headsets are still a bit on the fringe, with most favoring a traditional gaming console or PC. Augmented reality has existed for quite some time via smartphones, but AR headsets are very rare and quite limited. However, 2022 might be the beginning of a technological revolution if Apple joins Meta, Microsoft, and Google in the AR and VR hardware market.
Multiple sources have suggested that Apple’s first AR/VR headset will arrive in 2022, and an end of the year release is most likely. However, the announcement might come much earlier in the year. Bloomberg’s PowerOn newsletter mentioned historical precedent for Apple announcing new product categories several months before delivery, citing the first iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch as examples.
When Apple’s AR/VR Headset Will Arrive
Bloomberg indicated Apple’s AR/VR Headset might arrive at the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference, which usually takes place in June. That aligns with the Apple Silicon announcement made at the WWDC in 2020. Apple revealed that it was transitioning away from Intel chips and moving to its own processors for the Mac that were based upon the iPhone and iPad chips. The Apple Silicon Developer’s Kit included a Mac mini powered by an A12Z chip, the same used in the 2020 iPad Pro. The computer was loaned out for a fee of $500 to developers along with software to assist in creating apps for the upcoming devices that launched in the fall. Apple could do something similar with its AR/VR headset, providing a pre-release version of the hardware with early beta software for development purposes.
There are multiple reasons to announce early. Among the most critical steps for a new product is to start third-party development. If Apple releases a development kit or even describes the system in sufficient detail, planning can begin to take shape for apps and accessories. The announcement might pre-empt orders and investments in competing products. Also, getting an early start will stop rumors and leaks, allowing Apple to control the conversation about its upcoming device. At the moment, speculation is fueled by patent documents. If Apple does announce an AR/VR headset in 2022, it will make a big splash and might shake up the industry.
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