Apple Mixed-Reality Headset May Be Announced in 2021

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Rumors that Apple is working on a top-secret mixed-reality headset have exploded in recent months. Excitingly, they just got another boost from reputable reporter Mark Gurman, who claims Apple will unveil the device at an in-person event within “the next several months.”

In a newsletter discussing Apple’s future Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) events, Gurman wrote: “Sometime in the next several months, the company is poised to announce a mixed-reality headset, its first major new device since 2015. If possible, Apple won’t want to make such a critical announcement at an online event. It wants employees, the media, its partners, and developers in the room.”

Tantalizingly, WWDC itself falls within that date range, as it is due to begin on June 7 this year. However, before we all get too excited, this year’s WWDC event is set to be digital-only, which seemingly rules it out for the mixed-reality headset reveal.

Traditionally, the next event Apple usually hosts after WWDC is the iPhone announcement in September. This is a plausible contender for the unveiling, as it would allow Apple to demonstrate how the headset works with brand-new iPhones and other Apple devices. At the same time, the September event is usually pretty jam-packed, so we might be looking at a stand-alone event solely dedicated to the headset instead.

If the device is indeed revealed in 2021, we would expect it to launch in 2022 to give developers time to get their apps ready. Gurman, reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, and news outlet The Information have all slated 2022 as the probable release date. In terms of price, Kuo has claimed the product will cost $1,000 — much lower than the $3,000 price tag suggested by The Information.

According to the rumor mill, Apple’s headset will blend augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) features. It will supposedly be entirely wireless, feature dual 8K displays and eye tracking, and be powered by an Apple-designed custom chip that is on par with (or better than) the M1 chip in the current MacBook Pro. With all those features apparently in the works, this year’s announcement cannot come soon enough.

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