Apple’s Mixed-Reality Headset Will Arrive Next March for $2,000

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Apple's Mixed-Reality Headset

As Meta encounters a financial reckoning over its investment into its metaverse-moonshot, Apple is preparing up to release a competitor to the Quest 2 and Quest Pro VR headsets. DigiTimes Asia and MacRumors report that Apple’s offering will be an “extended reality” headset that blends virtual, augmented, and mixed reality. It is likely to set to start production in March 2023.

Sources told DigiTimes Asia that Apple’s XR headset “targets the commercial markets,” which is bad news for Meta as the company has spent years trying to make its VR headset a sought-after consumer product. In some ways, however, Meta has succeeded in achieving that goal: In June, analyst company International Data Corporation estimated that the company had sold 15 million units of its Quest 2 headset, which currently retails at a starting price of $399. But the company’s most recent release, the $1,499 Meta Quest Pro, has not been met with an especially positive reception.

This week, Meta announced it would be laying off 11,000 people, or 13% of its staff, as a result of misguided investment in its metaverse product line.

The VR market may reach a new echelon of public interest after Apple gets into the game. Apple’s brand power and deep consumer trust may change VR headsets into the kind of must-have accessory that ordinary consumers feel compelled and persuaded to buy.

That said, Apple’s headset will come with the standard “Apple tax” — the device is launched to retail for more than $2,000 — and could be limited to less than 1 million units. DigiTimes Asia notes that “for supply chain manufacturers that benefit from quantity, this is not a particularly profitable order.” But the partnership will likely lead to profitable, longer-term contracts with Apple as the company builds out its AR and VR offerings. Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Pegatron, which has worked with Apple and Tesla, is said to be the exclusive partner for the absolute assembly of the units.

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