Report: Apple Executives Cautious of Mixed-Reality Headset Amid Compromises

Key Apple executives including Tim Cook, Craig Federighi, and Johny Srouji have kept their distance from the company's mixed-reality headset throughout its development process amid a series of setbacks and compromises, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman.

apple headset underside render by marcus kaneApple headset concept render by Marcus Kane.

Apple apparently began developing its headset in 2015, using Samsung's Gear VR and the HTC Vive in early experiments. The headset has reportedly deviated significantly from CEO ‌Tim Cook‌'s original vision. The product was initially imagined as "a pair of unobtrusive eyeglasses that could be worn all day," but it has now become a full-blown headset that looks like a pair of ski goggles and requires a separate battery pack due to technological limitations, internal disagreements, and a rush to bring an Apple AR/VR product to market.

Despite Cook's unwavering view that the device should focus on unobtrusive augmented reality, he was reportedly not deeply engaged in its design and chose to only participate in demonstrations. Cook's "relative noninvolvement" has sometimes been seen as indecision and caused frustration among staff, leading to delays and concerns about obtaining resources.

Key figures including software chief Craig Federighi have also kept their distance from the headset during its development and have seemed wary of it. Apple's senior vice president for hardware technologies, Johny Srouji, is believed to privately be a skeptic of the device, comparing it to a science project. He has warned that designing the high-performance chips that the headset requires could distract from new iPhone chips that drive more revenue.

By 2017, Apple purportedly believed that the headset could go on sale by 2020, but the project was mired by hardware and software challenges, and disagreements about which applications to develop for the device. Some of the headset's features, including the ability to function as an external monitor for a Mac and multi-person video calls, are currently said to be less advanced than Apple originally intended. The company allegedly hopes that "third-party apps will save it." Apple is already in talks with software and game developers, as well as as entertainment companies, to have apps and content ready for the device by the time it goes on sale.

Apple wishes that users will eventually wear a head-mounted AR device continuously all day, replacing tasks currently accomplished on other devices such as the ‌iPhone‌ and Mac, including web browsing, gaming, email, video calls and collaboration, working out, and meditation, but does not expect this to happen immediately. Internal projections estimate that the product category has the potential to eventually be as big as the Apple Watch or iPad following the addition of new features and a lower price point with new versions of the device.

While Apple initially hoped to sell three million units within the device's first year on sale, it now expects to sell around 900,000 headsets. The company has decided to sell the device at its approximate cost to make, rather than sell it at a loss as it originally considered. The headset is still on schedule to be announced at WWDC in June.

Related Roundup: Apple Vision Pro
Buyer's Guide: Vision Pro (Buy Now)
Related Forum: Apple Vision Pro

Popular Stories

Apple Vision Pro 2 Feature 2

Apple Reportedly Suspends Work on Vision Pro 2

Tuesday June 18, 2024 8:17 am PDT by
Apple has suspended work on the second-generation Vision Pro headset to singularly focus on a cheaper model, The Information reports. Apple was widely believed to have plans to divide its Vision product line into two models, with one "Pro" model and one lower-cost standard model. The company is said to have been deprioritizing the next Vision Pro headset over the past year, gradually...
Apple WWDC24 Apple Intelligence hero 240610

Apple Explains iPhone 15 Pro Requirement for Apple Intelligence

Wednesday June 19, 2024 4:48 am PDT by
With iOS 18, iPadOS 18, and macOS Sequoia, Apple is introducing a new personalized AI experience called Apple Intelligence that uses on-device, generative large-language models to enhance the user experience across iPhone, iPad, and Mac. These new AI features require Apple's latest iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max models to work, while only Macs and iPads with M1 or later chips will...
M4 Real Feature Red

M4 MacBook Pro Models Expected to Launch in Late 2024

Tuesday June 18, 2024 10:50 am PDT by
MacBook Pro models with an M4 chip are expected to launch in the fourth quarter of 2024, according to display analyst Ross Young. In a tweet for subscribers, Young said that panel shipments for new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models are set to begin in the third quarter of 2024, which suggests a launch toward the end of the year. Apple started its M4 chip refresh in May with the launch...
2022 back to school apple feature

Apple's 2024 Back to School Sale Launching This Week

Monday June 17, 2024 12:27 pm PDT by
Apple will launch its annual Back to School promotion for university students in the United States and Canada this week, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Apple's back to school sales provide students with a free Apple gift card when purchasing a Mac or an iPad, and this year's promotion could help Apple push the new M2 iPad Air and M4 iPad Pro models. Last year, Apple offered U.S....
iOS 18 Calendar Feature

iOS 18: Calendar App Design Changes and Reminders Integration

Tuesday June 18, 2024 6:16 am PDT by
Apple in iOS 18 has given the Calendar app a major update, adding some welcome interface design changes, not to mention long-awaited integration with Reminders. In the month-by-month calendar view, the month now appears in large bold font in the top left, while the Events list toggle has been replaced by a new button that lets you choose between Compact, Stacked, Details, and List views. ...
watchOS 11 Thumb 2 1

watchOS 11 Supports Automatic Nap Detection

Monday June 17, 2024 4:05 pm PDT by
watchOS 11 appears to include a new feature that allows an Apple Watch to automatically detect and record when you're taking a nap. As shared on Reddit, an Apple Watch owner took a nap and was able to see the sleep data recorded in the Health app, despite not putting the device in Sleep Mode. Right now, the Apple Watch only tracks and records sleep when it is in Sleep Mode, and there is no...

Top Rated Comments

ocnitsa Avatar
14 months ago
It’s too expensive! I can’t fathom a use for this! I’m not interested in VR! No killer app! DOA! Just another Meta verse!

Pfew, now that we got that out of the way maybe we can have a real discussion about this…
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheYayAreaLiving ?️ Avatar
14 months ago
AR/VR is cool but only for 5 minutes. After that it gets old.

Apple better not blame the customers why this was a failed product.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
surfzen21 Avatar
14 months ago
I know people with multiple personality disorder that are less conflicted than all these leaks.

Attachment Image
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
StudyFlo Avatar
14 months ago
I'm quite sure Apple itself seeds these "leaks" setting expectations low to surprise us. Or should I say, I hope they do?
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
StudyFlo Avatar
14 months ago

It’s too expensive! I can’t fathom a use for this! I’m not interested in VR! No killer app! DOA! Just another Meta verse!

Pfew, now that we got that out of the way maybe we can have a real discussion about this…
you had me in the first half. ;)
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
magdogg Avatar
14 months ago

Apple reportedly hopes that users will eventually wear the device continuously all day,
Wait, what???
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)