Apple's AR headset hasn't been announced yet and there are already those who insist it is a flop that is dead on arrival — just like they said with the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and even the Mac.
We've been dealing with this cycle for decades. Apple releases something, folks complain about price, or some other factor that only they care about, and call Apple's product a failure.
Even when Apple didn't have the financial stockpile that it has now, the company has the patience to wait it out.
Ultimately, we don't know on the Friday before WWDC if the headset is compelling. The rumored $3,000 price point is steep and will be the main talking point, if it's accurate. As a reminder, though, the original iPad was predicted to retail for $999, and it sold for $499 in the real world.
Then, too, the assumption is that we'll know everything after Tim Cook leaves the stage at the end of his WWDC 2023 keynote. In truth, we won't really get to know whether it's good or bad in actual use until much later.
We're expecting Apple to do the same thing with the headset that it did with the first Intel Macs and Apple Silicon transition kits. Developer kits will probably be first shortly after WWDC, followed by a holiday release for the general public — assuming Apple can make enough.
We'll get an idea from anything developers tell us of their experiences working with it, of course.
Real success will take time — and Apple has all the time that money can buy. It will iterate the design and it will move the target if it has to on who it is aiming the product at.
Put a pin in it
Maybe the headset will flop. Maybe it will be the hockey puck mouse all over again.
But in case it's anything other than a long term disaster, read a selection of the complaints and criticisms of Apple's headset — before it's even been confirmed as coming.
"An Apple-ecosystem-locked augmented reality headset for $3000? Please be serious.," wrote Tessa Kaur in The Gamer. "I hate it... an AR headset is the wrong direction."
"For a staggering $3,000, early adopters of an Apple VR/AR ecosystem will be able to do more or less what their phone does," continues Kaur, "except they have to wear a bulky headset and fiddle with imaginary objects with their hands. It's the dorkiest thing I can imagine."
Remember that the $3,000 price is just a rumor, albeit a repeatedly backed up one. Across Reddit discussions, most of the pre-release complaints concentrate on that price tag.
"Why pay $3000 for the Apple product when I can buy a Quest 2 for $300?" wrote "potatochipsbagelpie."
"I just cannot imagine what this will offer for anyone that none of the cheaper and more accessible VR headsets already offer," wrote a user who for some reason wishes to be known as "myyummyass" on Reddit. "Why buy this for what will inevitably be over 1k when you can get a PS5 and a PSVR2 for that price with way more utility?"
"[It's] pretty much just the iPhone that really blew anyone away especially with respect to software development platforms," wrote user FollowingFeisty5321, "every other platform they've launched for developers has fizzled — Watch, Mac App Store, iPad OS, Apple TV."
Some sense prevails
However, most people across Reddit appear to be happy waiting to find out what Apple actually announces, though, and plenty think it will be better than anything by the firms' rivals. Although that may not be saying much.
"I mean the bar is set pretty low with what we currently have," wrote Reddit user CeeKay125. "Wonder what the killer app they are going to tout out will be? Without a killer app, don't see this doing numbers, even being an Apple product."
It's a good point. Arguably the Apple Watch floundered at first, with the marketing for it at first positioning it as a fashion item first, and a fitness item second. It then took off when Apple found its niche in promoting it as a health aid.
Time and apps will tell
Everyone will be looking at Apple's headset at WWDC, but it's true that they'll really be looking for its killer app.
Nobody knows and nobody can know yet whether Apple headset will another hit until it's at least been announced. Even then, there's a long way to go from WWDC keynote to a matured device, just as there was between the announcement of the iPhone and its shipping.
Just don't expect anyone to hold off on calling a new Apple device doomed.
"There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share," Microsoft's then CEO Steve Ballmer said in 2007. "No chance."
Monday's WWDC is just the first few words in the first chapter of Apple's book on the subject, that had a four-year foreword with ARKit.