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Apple's AR & VR headset not expected at WWDC, launch in 2023 instead

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Apple won't introduce its often-rumored VR/AR headset during WWDC, with battery issues reportedly forcing Apple to delay the hardware release into 2023.

Recent rumors have pushed the narrative that Apple will go big on AR and VR for WWDC 2022, to give developers a chance to make apps for a headset launch later in 2022. However, a report claims Apple will be waiting until 2023 to launch the hardware, casting doubt on its appearance during the developer conference.

In an article discussing Apple's tapping of Hollywood directors to develop content for the headset, sources of the New York Times discuss the hiring of Mike Rockwell from Dolby Technologies to work on the headset. The two people familiar with the project said that issues have forced Apple to postpone a release until 2023.

It is claimed that early attempts by Rockwell to create an AR product were "hobbled by weak computing power." However, challenges relating to battery power are supposedly behind the increased delay.

Among the rumors supporting a 2022 headset is one claim that Apple had started a second round of pre-production testing in February. By May, the headset had apparently entered an "advanced" stage of development, and was supposedly shown to members of Apple's board of directors.

A trademark filing has seemingly indicated that "realityOS" could be the name for the operating system used by the headset, which may still be shown off during WWDC itself. In preparation for the headset's launch, Apple could still offer developers tools for the creation of apps using existing available hardware, or possibly even via a developer kit.

The report offered that some of the elements being shown could be software tools that add new camera and voice functionality. Two people familiar with the project and documents reviewed by the publication suggested this could lay the groundwork for a hands-free headset interface.

The Saturday article claims Apple has brought aboard Hollywood directors to assist with creating content for its headset. One of the people named was Jon Favreau, who served as an executive producer for "Prehistoric Planet" on Apple TV+, and is apparently working to bring elements of that show to the headset.