We have a meeting on June 5. On that day, there will be the opening keynote address for WWDC 2023, a conference for developers where we can expect new iterations of the macOS, iOS, and iPad, but where we are most interested in hearing about the upcoming unveiling of Apple’s virtual reality glasses spectacles (or mixed reality). Yes, the expectations are deteriorating.
Delays and More Delays
According to the Financial Times, Apple began developing its mixed reality glasses and the project for future augmented reality glasses in 2016. However, in actuality, these developments have been hampered by issues and, more importantly, delays. It is not typical in a firm with Apple’s experience and level of consolidation, but it is only one of the launch’s issues.
The Employees, Pessimistic
A few days ago, an article with quotes from numerous unnamed Apple employees appeared in The New York Times. These remarks indicate that the mixed reality headset is not yet ready. Due to these uncertainties, some of them gave up on the project, while others are pessimistic and do not completely believe in the viability of a gadget that is also anticipated to be quite pricey and cost around $3,000.
The iPod and the iPhone were Different
These claims show that these workers do not perceive with the glasses what was perceived with the development of the iPod or iPhone. “That same clarity has not guided glasses.” It hasn’t helped that important departmental leaders like Jony Ive and Evans Hankey have left the industrial design division.
Rumors of Production Cuts
According to earlier information, Apple initially produced roughly 500,000 units, which is a very small number for a company of its size but realistic given the expensive cost of the glasses. But according to a tweet from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, production has been scaled back to between 200,000 and 300 units.
According to him, Apple is not overly hopeful about the device’s reception, particularly in light of “the economic situation, sacrifices in some hardware specifications for mass production (such as weight), the state of the ecosystem and its applications, or the high sale price ($3,000-$4,000 or even higher)”.
Will they really Launch the Glasses?
The fact is that Apple hasn’t made any public comments regarding this project, and its launch hasn’t been officially announced. According to Bloomberg, Apple taught the device to the Top 100 group of the company’s 100 most significant executives last week, a definite step toward the product’s launch in June. Yet, nothing in this part is confirmed, and if the glasses are real, Apple might decide to postpone the introduction.
What do we Expect?
The information that has leaked suggests that the glasses have a shape close to ski goggles. They will have a physical crown to turn on or off virtual reality, similar to the one on the Apple Watch. Similar to the Magic Leap, they might employ an external battery that the user would carry in his pocket to reduce the weight of the spectacles.
A market that has experienced years of stagnation
Also, there are questions regarding the software or games that will actually add value to the Apple Spectacles. Although the virtual reality market has a rich history, it hasn’t been able to turn existing gadgets into huge successes. According to IDC data, 8.8 million virtual reality headsets were shipped in total in 2022, a 20.9% decrease from 2021.
An iPod-style Revolution?
It will be interesting to watch if Apple can completely transform this market. The most obvious example is the iPod; prior to its release, MP3 players existed, but they were constrained goods. The 2001 release of the Apple gadget was a major disruption, but the 2003 debut of the iTunes Store and the beginning of the era of music downloads really solidified that launch.
Though it would subsequently be topped by the popularity of the iPhone and the App Store, it appears challenging to duplicate such success. Yet, given the company’s history, at the very least, it is worth giving it the benefit of the doubt. We’ll watch to see if he tosses the glasses, and then we’ll see what happens next.