Apple demos mixed-reality headset for top 100 executives

Apple gathered the company’s roughly 100 highest-ranking executives in the Steve Jobs Theater at Apple park in Cupertino, California to see Apple’s most important new product in years: its forthcoming and long-expected mixed-reality headset.

Apple VR/AR headset concept by Antonio DeRosa
Apple VR/AR headset concept by Antonio DeRosa

Mark Gurman for Bloomberg News:

The device was demonstrated for the group, marking a key milestone ahead of the headset’s public debut planned for June. It was an opportunity for the mixed-reality team to rally leaders around what could be the next major platform beyond the iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch.

Now, this isn’t the first time that the Top 100 has gotten a peek at the headset. Apple’s Technology Development Group — the team behind the mixed-reality initiative — has discreetly shown the product to the company’s top decision makers every year since 2018.

The demonstrations were polished, glitzy and exciting, but many executives are clear-eyed about Apple’s challenges pushing into this new market.

Mixed reality — a category that melds augmented and virtual reality — is still a nascent area and far riskier than Apple’s earlier attempts to establish new beachheads… Moreover, the device will start at around $3,000, lack a clear killer app, require an external battery that will need to be replaced every couple of hours and use a design that some testers have deemed uncomfortable. It’s also likely to launch with limited media content.

With that in mind, executives are striking a realistic tone within the company. This isn’t going to be a hit product right out of the gate. But it could follow a similar trajectory as the Apple Watch…

In terms of unit sales, the first version will look like a dud next to the company’s existing products… At $3,000, that would mean revenue of about $3 billion. There would be little to no profit at first, given that the components in the device are so expensive and Apple won’t be seeking its typical margins just yet.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote over three years ago, “The Apple Watch certainly found its way – we, the users, were the Apple Watch alpha and beta testers, collectively standing in for Steve Jobs, doing much of what the singular genius would have done before release by brute force and sheer numbers after release. It took four generations of Apple Watch, but we’re here now and we wouldn’t trade the experience for anything! The same goes for Apple Glasses!”

A $3,000 or so high-end headset – where Apple is widely expected to start – is going to be a magnet for the Apple naysayers brigade who will generate tons of digital ink about how “nobody will be a $3,000 headset,” Apple is nuts,” “flop,” “boondoggle,” etc.

This is the way it’s always been and always shall be… As always, ignore the Apple naysayers.MacDailyNews, March 14, 2023

Apple’s smartgoggles will be cool, but it’s the subsequent Apple smartglasses that will change the world.MacDailyNews, July 11, 2022

The Apple Glasses will be the key as holding up slabs of glass as “windows” is suboptimal. When we’re running in a race, for example, we don’t want to have to hold an iPhone or even glance at an Apple Watch, but with a pair of Apple Glasses constantly overlaying time, pace, splits, etc. it’ll be ideal! — MacDailyNews, September 6, 2019

Augmented Reality is going to change everything.MacDailyNews, July 21, 2017

Someday, hopefully sooner than later, we’ll look back at holding up slabs of metal and glass to access AR as unbelievably quaint. — MacDailyNews, July 28, 2017

The impact of augmented reality cannot be overstated. It will be a paradigm shift larger than the iPhone and the half-assed clones it begat. — MacDailyNews, August 4, 2017

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  1. What problem does this solve? Right. No clear answer. Steve Jobs has left the building long ago and it shows. You know when augmented reality makes sense? When it can be embedded in contact lenses or wired into us via implants. Until then, there will be these archaic and awkward solutions. A product with a battery life of only a few hours with an external battery and one that is bulky MAKES NO SENSE.

    You’re just like the rest of them, and I returned the Oculus VR within days after buying it. Waste of time and money and confined to inside a room. For AR to make sense, it needs to be truly mobile. That means it needs to function as part of light glasses/sunglasses and have all day battery life.

    This crap that Apple is going to put out will have some gaming and commercial applications, which is fine. But it won’t have broad appeal and isn’t solving any real problems. We’ll wait to see what they show, but based on this article, my expectations are low.

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