Even by the standards of a company like Apple, the level of fanfare surrounding the Reality Pro headset has been massive. From early rumours that something was in the works, to leaked pricing, odd specs and homemade renders, the mixed reality unit has grasped the attention of tech fans everywhere.
Earlier this week, when WWDC 2023 was officially announced, the tech world shared collective anticipation. This event, it was widely believed, would be where the Reality Pro was finally unveiled to the public, after numerous internal demonstrations.
But that no longer looks to be the case. According to respected tech tipster, Ming-Chi Kuo, the Reality Pro headset is suffering from further delays, which could push any launch event back to later in the year.
There's a myriad of reasons given for why. Concerns over some compromises made to achieve mass production, as well as the readiness of the ecosystem and relevant apps have all played a part, as has the wider economic situation. In short, Apple wants the Reality Pro to have its own iPhone moment, and it doesn't appear to be the right time for that to happen.
And that's okay. Sure, we'd all love to see it unveiled soon. Many people are hoping it will revolutionise the world of VR headsets, which have so far been fun, but haven't quite hit the point of mass public appeal.
I'm less convinced that the Reality Pro headset will do that. Expected to retail at around $3,000, it's going to be a tough sell for most people, though future models in the works are said to address the cost of entry.
For that reason alone, now doesn't seem like the right time for a release. For the headset to stand any chance, potential users need to have the disposable income to buy it. Attempting to release it at a time when economic uncertainty is rife seems like a mistake – not just for Apple's bottom line, but for the success of the headset, and, by extension, mixed reality overall.
Kuo suggests that it's only being pushed back by a few months anyway, so we're still likely to see it in 2023 – possibly around the same time as the iPhone 15. And if a few months is what it takes for a more successful release and, subsequently, more investment into the sector overall, I think that's a good decision.