Apple’s long-awaited mixed reality (MR) headset may “likely release in January 2023,” veteran analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said in a note as quoted by tech media 9 to 5 Mac.
The note discussed forecasted changes across the industry, namely amid increasing competition between rival metaverse-focused firms Meta Platforms and Apple, with Kuo stating the former had triggered meteoric growth across the sector over the last few years due to their low-cost VR headsets.
According to Kuo, the industry would not be affected by a decline from Meta due to its rapid maturation, citing divestment and slowdown from the Menlo Park-based firm.
He continued, stating other VR headset manufacturers would step up efforts to fill the gap in Meta’s production.
Kuo said, noting a release date ahead of schedule,
“In addition, the vast potential demand in the Chinese market and Apple AR/MR, which will likely release in January 2023, will also favor the continued rapid growth of the headset sector”
Kuo added in his statement that Meta could potentially scale back its near-term VR investments to focus efforts on its business operations. He called Apple “a game-changer for the headset industry.”
Kuo described the upcoming Apple as being “the most complicated product Apple has ever [designed]” and that rival firms may imitate the head-mounted display (HMD), sparking industry growth.
“Although Apple has repeatedly reiterated its focus on AR, I believe Apple AR/MR supporting video see-thru could also offer an excellent immersive experience. Therefore, the launch of Apple AR/MR will further boost the demand for immersive gaming [and] multimedia entertainment”
The news comes after media reports revealed Apple may potentially release its headset based on evidence found in source code from the Cupertino-based firm’s iOS 16 beta.
Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman said in April he expected the headset to launch during the iOS 16 cycle from June until autumn 2023, with the possibility to preview software.
Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook also explained at the company’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in June how augmented reality (AR) was “putting humanity at the center of it.”