Apple VR headsets still scheduled for 2022, but will be very hard to get

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While Apple's VR headset may be released in 2022, supply constraints and other issues will mean that it will only be available in limited quantities until 2023, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reports.

Reiterating his previous claim that Apple has pushed production of its first headset to the end of 2022, Ming-Chi Kuo says this will give supplier Genius an advantage. Genius is one of two firms that Apple has ordered pancake/Fresnel lenses from, although as yet its production yield is less than that of rival Young Optics.

In a note to investors, seen by AppleInsider, Kuo says that "Apple's AR/MR production delays will help Genius close the gap in production yields for pancake lenses with Young Optics."

So, while Apple may still release the headset before the end of 2022, supplies will be profoundly limited until the first calendar quarter of 2023, Kuo says. And, the limited quantities to start will help Apple diversify its supply chain.

Kuo reports that Young Optics has the NPI (New Product Introduction) order from Apple, but that Genius may become an equal supplier.

"[Apple's] assembly schedule delay provides more time for Genius to improve the yield," says Kuo. "Based on the survey that Genius's yield rate is already very close to Young Optics', we believe the yield rate of both should be similar before mass production, so in the best-case scenario, Genius can get half of the orders."

Kuo further says that Genius has obtained a "significant" order from Meta (formerly Facebook) for its "new high-end VR" device.

"We expect Meta to release its new high-end VR headset, Oculus Quest 3, in mid-2H22," writes Kuo, "with an estimated shipment of 1-2 million units in 2022."

Kuo's estimate of Apple production at the end of 2022 backs up a recent research note by Loup Ventures partner and analyst Gene Munster. Munster believes it's possible that an Apple AR headset will be announced at WWDC 2022, but won't be more than a prototype then.