Image: DALL-E 2 prompted by MIXED
Apple’s first VR/AR headset is expected to come out this year – because Apple CEO Tim Cook said so.
Apple has been working on VR and AR headsets for about seven years. Over the years, there have been many leaks about Apple’s strategic directions and various prototypes. This summer at WWDC, Apple is expected to finally unveil the results of years of research and development.
Tim Cook puts his foot down
According to a report in the Financial Times, Apple’s operations team has voiced support for launching a “ski goggle-like headset” for avatar video calling, immersive 3D video and interactive workouts.
However, Apple’s famous industrial design team has opposed the launch for years, internally calling for Apple to wait until technology allows for lighter, thinner headsets that can keep up with the technology’s vision – which could be years away.
In the end, it was Apple CEO Tim Cook who decided to launch this year, according to two anonymous Financial Times sources. He sided with COO Jeff Williams and overruled the objections of the design team.
According to the FT, this decision would have been unthinkable just a few years ago, and was only made possible by the departure of design icon Jony Ive and a restructuring within the company.
“They have immense pressure to ship [the headset],”a former Apple engineer involved in the headset’s development told the Financial Times. “They have been postponing the launch each year for the past [few] years.”
Will the Apple Headset be Cook’s legacy?
Tim Cook, who succeeded Steven Jobs as Apple’s CEO in the summer of 2011, is considered a skilled executive who has grown Apple’s revenue with a steady hand. Apple’s market capitalization has risen from about $350 billion in 2011 to about $2.4 trillion today.
But unlike Steve Jobs, Cook is not known for big, disruptive innovations, although successful new products like the AirPod and the Apple smartwatch have been launched during his tenure. But they are mostly seen as extensions of the iPhone ecosystem.
The headset could change that narrative and become Apple’s first “next-generation” product of the Cook era. Some inside Apple reportedly believe that a headset could one day replace the iPhone.
In the first year, Apple is said to expect to sell just one million headsets, which will steadily increase as the technology evolves. The first version of the iPhone and the first three versions of the iPod also sold modestly until their successors took off.
You can find all the rumors and technical details about the Apple Headset in the linked article.