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Apple tech glasses have issues and are coming later

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Apple tech glasses have issues and are coming later

Image: Unsplash / Zhiyue Xu

Apple’s VR AR glasses planned for 2022 should be postponed by at least a few months. The reason makes you sit up and take notice: Apple has problems with the technology.
According to Bloomberg’s Apple reporter Mark Gurman, Apple’s VR glasses with AR features were supposed to be unveiled at Apple’s developer conference WWDC in the summer and released later in the year, at least for developers. Those plans are now defunct, Gurman reports, citing Apple supply chain sources familiar with the project.

Tech glasses: Apple is struggling with heat problems

According to Gurman’s sources, the market launch of Apple glasses will be delayed by “at least a few months”. The reporter cites development problems as the reason: Apple’s XR team has struggling with heat problems, which are related to the numerous built-in cameras and the software. According to previous reports, the Apple goggles pack more than a dozen cameras and a lidar scanner for spatial tracking, gaze tracking, hand tracking, and recording the environment for AR video review. It is unclear whether the glasses work completely standalone or whether they can only access their full performance in combination with an external player. The fact that Apple’s engineers are struggling with heat problems could speak for a completely self-sufficient solution. Apple design legend Jonathan Ive, who has not been with the group since 2019, is said to have opted for the standalone glasses for reasons of comfort.

Apple glasses will probably not come until 2023

The heat issues mean the glasses will likely not appear until 2023, according to Gurman’s sources. However, a market launch at the end of the year does not seem to be completely off the table: Apple should continue to be in contact with dealers for a market launch at the end of 2022. The presentation should continue this year, but probably not in the summer at the WWDC, where it should at most give a preview of software functions. The WWDC 2023 should then be fully focused on the development of VR and AR apps, for which Apple is planning its own store. As usual, Apple does not comment on the rumours. Apple investors were hardly impressed by the news: the share was only slightly weaker in a difficult market environment. However, the group is not initially expecting large sales of XR anyway: According to Gurman’s sources, seven to ten million units will be sold in the first year. That’s decent by XR standards, but a side note at best compared to Apple’s rest of the markets. In any case, the first VR-AR hybrid glasses should only be an intermediate step towards powerful, slim AR glasses suitable for everyday use.

When will Apple’s XR odyssey end?

With the renewed postponement, Apple’s XR odyssey is supplemented by another chapter: Various VR and AR prototypes have been in development since 2015. Originally, the first product should have been on the market as early as 2021. In the meantime there have been reports and leaks about fundamental changes to prototypes and scheduling. This shows how demanding it is to develop XR glasses that meet Apple’s requirements in terms of design, comfort and function. Apple competitors like Meta and others who are experimenting with the target group have launched numerous devices during this period. However, many did not have the hoped-for success. Meta has probably only been on the way to a healthy VR ecosystem since Quest 2. In the meantime there have been flops like Oculus Go, Samsung Gear VR or Google Daydream VR, some of which are said to have a rather deterrent effect.

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