Longtime Apple analyst says XR headset risks flop

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For years, Bloomberg’s Apple journalist Mark Gurman has been leaking information about Apple’s upcoming XR headset. Now, on the eve of that possible announcement, he’s skeptical.Will Apple’s headsets suffer the same fate as Hololens and others?

Since the big hype around 2016, sales of VR, AR, and most recently XR headsets have been well below expectations. His two big companies, Meta and Sony, are still investing in XR hardware, but Meta clearly takes a bigger risk than Sony, which “just” launches a VR headset as a console accessory for PSVR 2. I am indebted. It seems that other big companies like Microsoft and Samsung either exited or didn’t really enter (e.g. LG).

Apple’s headset could be a failure, says Garman

Some expect Apple’s entry into the headset market to give the industry a boost. But why really? Apple’s hardware and software are so far ahead of everything they’ve tried before, and everything the XR struggled with (too heavy and fiddly, limited usage scenarios, etc.) suddenly Will it work?

In his latest newsletter, “Power On,” Gurman describes Apple’s headset as a technological marvel that clearly outperforms anything currently on the market. However, he said it is still “unrealistic and too expensive for most consumers.”

According to Gurman, the device does not have a killer app. Apple hopes immersive video, integration with his other Apple products, and lifelike Facetime VR calling will appeal to consumers. “I don’t think this approach is good enough,” he writes Gurman.

He also said the headset doesn’t offer any clear advantages over Apple’s existing offerings. “Prices are high, uses are limited, and most consumers are wary,” he writes Gurman.

So far, he said, Apple has entered existing markets with newer and better products. However, AR and VR headsets are a new product category and consumers are still not convinced to buy them. Gurman said Apple’s reputation as a “guaranteed hitmaker” is in jeopardy.

Apple’s headset could be positioned as a preview of the future of computing

Apple also expects demand to be subdued. The company will reportedly only produce about one million devices in its first year. Sold millions of units.

Gurman said Apple could be positioning the first headset as a preview of future products. Apple’s marketing department may have to move more cautiously than usual because of this. Post-launch, it requires rapid development and his sub-$1,000 price point with longer battery life. Apple is already rumored to be working on his second mixed reality headset, which is cheaper.

Gurman sees a breakthrough that rivals the iPhone alone in a true AR headset that offers the price, features, and battery life of the iPhone. However, Apple was recently said to have postponed this very headset indefinitely due to technical issues.

Some in Apple’s leadership believe this new product category has the long-term potential to replace the iPhone as a hallmark of the company, Garman said. The vision within the company, he said, is a headset that can be worn anywhere throughout the day, replacing laptops and smartphones. Apple’s first mixed reality headset could be a taste of that future or, as Gurman fears, a “bombshell.”

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