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Apple already anticipating more Reality Pro headset delays

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Ahead of WWDC kicking off in less than a month, the Wall Street Journal is out with a new report today corroborating many details of Apple’s “Reality Pro” headset. Citing “people familiar with the matter,” the report echoes that the AR/VR headset will feature a ski goggle-style design, an external battery pack, and more.

Many of the details reported today by the Wall Street Journal have previously been reported by other sources, including Bloomberg, The Information, and Ming-Chi Kuo. Today’s story provides another level of corroboration as we await Apple’s official Reality Pro announcement at WWDC on June 5.

The report reiterates that Apple’s headset will use a mixed-reality approach, allowing users to “experience their virtual worlds through the screen in the goggles” while simultaneously seeing the “physical world around them thanks to outward facing cameras.”

While the headset is still on track to make its debut at WWDC, today’s report points out that it won’t be available “for most users until the fall at the earliest.” Mass production isn’t slated to begin until December, the report says. In the meantime, Apple has “spent months preparing presentations with a demo version of the device” for WWDC in June.

Even with mass production still months away, WSJ sources say that people inside Apple and inside the company’s supply chain are worried about further delays.

Some Apple employees and suppliers have questioned whether the rollout could be delayed given the challenges with integrating the headset with new software, its production and the broader market, people familiar with the product’s development said. Apple could still make changes to its timeline.

The headset’s tentative introduction to the market, with known hurdles, contrasts with Apple’s usual path where products are introduced to the world as fully formed. The expected $3,000 price tag is out of the realm for many consumers, and the company is already anticipating some production issues.

In terms of the physical design of the product, today’s report corroborates that Apple’s Reality Pro will use an external battery pack. The headset will “also fully enclose the user’s eyes like a pair of safety goggles” which will prevent users from “being able to directly view their surroundings as they would with a normal pair of glasses.”

The report also offers interesting details on Apple’s earlier plans for the first version of its headset, citing former employees who worked on the project. The story corroborates that an earlier idea was for the “headset to be wirelessly connected to a base station to offload the heavy amounts of computation it requires.” As has been previously reported, Jony Ive is said to have nixed this idea early on.

As expected, the report says Apple is planning a wide array of sessions for developers at WWDC that will be “devoted to development of the software for the new headset.”

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