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Apple AR/VR Headset Potentially Delayed Until 2023 Amid Development Problems

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Apple's long-rumored AR/VR headset could be delayed until 2023 after being beset with issues during the development process, according to Bloomberg.

Citing people familiar with Apple's plans, the report claims that Apple originally planned to launch the headset in 2021 and ship it this year. The company then set its sights on WWDC in June 2022 to launch the product, but this is reportedly now unlikely due to a number of development issues.

The headset is said to be facing issues with overheating, as well as camera and software challenges. The device is rumored to feature two chips, and Bloomberg believes that at least one of these will be on par with the M1 Pro from the latest MacBook Pro models. The thermal demands of this chip are believed to be the cause of overheating issues.

Earlier designs attempted to mitigate thermal issues by using an external processor device that would transmit data wirelessly to the headset, but Sir Jony Ive reportedly rejected the concept. Apple is currently said to have around 2,000 employees working on its AR/VR headset.

As a result of these development problems, Apple is now considering delaying the launch of the headset until late 2022 or 2023. Apple purportedly informed supply-chain partners that the device is unlikely to be released until 2023, but it is apparently still pushing vendors to have units available for the end of 2022. Cameras for the headset supplied by LG Innotek are due to begin production as early as the second quarter of this year.

The company is now believed to be planning to focus WWDC in 2023 specifically around building virtual and augmented reality apps to kickstart the device's App Store. The headset itself is still rumored to run "rOS," internally codenamed "Oak."

iOS 16, which is internally said to be codenamed "Sydney," will supposedly feature built-in support for the headset to lay the groundwork for the device. Bloomberg notes that this means Apple "could theoretically preview technical aspects of the headset or its software, without showcasing the full device" at this year's WWDC.

Apple has considered pricing the device at more than $2,000, justified by the device's more advanced display, chip, and audio technologies compared to competitors. It originally expected to sell just one headset per day per retail store, and the company's latest forecast to suppliers expects sales of seven million to 10 million units during its first year.

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