Apple’s VR headset finally coming this spring, no major changes in iOS 17: report

  • Apple’s AR-VR headset is to be launched at WWDC 2023 and will come with a new proprietary OS 
  • The headset could bear a price tag close to USD 3,000 (over Rs 2.45 lakh) and support AirPods Pro integration
  • No major changes to rest of Apple’s lineup expected in 2023

Apple could be on the final laps of readying its much-awaited (and delayed) mixed reality headset and reports suggest that it could debut at the company’s spring event. The device could launch at or before WWDC in June with deliveries beginning sometime in Fall 2023. The upcoming AR-VR device is set to wear a price tag of up to USD 3,000 (~ Rs 2,46,650) and the company has reportedly shifted its primary focus to this high-value product.

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Apple analysts indicate that no noteworthy upgrades are expected to come anytime soon to Apple’s main product lineup. The Cupertino-based company is expected to push minor updates to its iPad lineup, AirPods lineup as well as Apple Watch. It is also being reported that iOS 17 will receive very few major changes than planned prior due to the shift in focus to the headset. 

Apple focussed on launching a new mixed-reality headset

Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman suggests that Apple could restrain from introducing any major changes to its primary computing product lineup except its first AR-VR mixed reality headset. The Apple tracker suggests that the iPad lineup, which includes the entry-level iPad, iPad mini and iPad Air, is due for only a minor spec bump. The iPad Pro will receive the only major spec bump with the introduction of an OLED panel, in the first half of 2024. 

Gurman also suggests that the AirPods lineup is unlikely to be updated this year. This could mean that the second generation of the AirPods Max might not debut anytime this year and might be launched sometime in 2024. Mark added that the Apple Watch too is not set for any major upgrades and the lineup is likely to get minor upgrades in 2023. There’s no word on any updates coming to the Apple TV either. 

Apple is however working on some marginal updates to the MacBook lineup. The company could unveil a lineup of MacBook Pro models which could boast some incremental updates. There will also be a new 15-inch MacBook Air with a new 15.5-inch display. Apple is also like to rejig the Mac Pro with a new non-upgradable M2 Ultra chip. Apple could also launch a new HomePod; however, Gurman indicates that the update will not be “anything revolutionary”. The new HomePod could get an updated touch control panel and an S8 chip.

No major changes in iOS 17

In the Power On newsletter, Gurman talks about iOS 17, codenamed Dawn, will receive fewer significant changes than originally planned. This means that the next big iteration of the iOS mobile operating system will not get many new significant upgrades. A similar story is being told about the upcoming macOS version as well, which has been codenamed Sunburst. This could be the result of Apple assigning more R&D to the upcoming AR VR headset’s OS called the xrOS. 

Apple’s AR VR headset: what we know so far

The Apple mixed reality headset could be the start of a new product line at one the world’s largest electronics maker. The AR VR headset will house cutting-edge technology and rumours suggest the inclusion of advanced iris scanning technology for login and payments. Design rumours also suggest the presence of a physical dial for controlling functions on the headset. The device is also expected to come with a provision for AirPods Pro integration and will also get an ultra-low latency mode. 

The device is expected to run on a new operating system that Apple is developing and is being referred to as the xrOS. The device which has been branded Reality Pro, has already been demoed to select high-profile developers to initiate the development of a third-party support ecosystem for apps and other software. Gurman also said that the US tech giant has allotted substantial resources to the project given the target timeline of launching at the WWDC 2023. This has slowed down some other product lines in Apple’s stable.