The rumored Apple mixed-reality headset is "likely" to make its debut in January 2023 and will accelerate the growth of the entire headset market, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
In a blog post on Thursday, Kuo outlined some of his expectations for the AR and VR industry going forward. Specifically, his analysis focuses on how Meta will compete when Apple enters the arena.
Kuo calls the upcoming Apple VR device a potential "game-changer for the headset industry." He added that the launch of the device, "likely" in early 2023, will accelerate the rapid growth of the headset sector.
"Although Apple has repeatedly reiterated its focus on AR, I believe Apple AR/MR supporting video see-thru could also offer an excellent immersive experience," Kuo wrote. "Therefore, the launch of Apple AR/MR will further boost the demand for immersive gaming/multimedia entertainment."
The analyst says that the AR/MR headset will be the "most complicated product" Apple has ever touched, so many existing suppliers are also in the supply chain.
Additionally, Kuo said that Apple's position in the industry affords it many competitive advantages, including allowing the company to forego joining the Metaverse Standards Forum.
"After Apple launches AR/MR headset, I think Apple's global rivals will compete to imitate it, leading the headset hardware industry to the next stage of rapid growth and benefiting the related services and content ecosystem," he says.
Although some expected Apple to announce or launch the AR/MR device during WWDC 2022, that ultimately didn't pan out. Back in May, however, a report indicated that the Apple mixed-reality headset had reached an "advanced" stage of development — with the device potentially being ready for release by 2023.
The AR/MR headset itself is expected to be a premium headset focused on virtual- or mixed-reality experiences and games, instead of a pair of dedicated augmented reality glasses like the so-called "Apple Glass."
Reports indicate that it'll sport a pair of 4K OLED displays, 15 different camera modules, and a powerful chip more akin to the M1 than Apple's A-series. It's expected to cost around $3,000.