Apple’s Mixed Reality Headset May Cost Over $2,000

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(Photo: Apple Glass concept by Taeyeon Kim)Apple’s still-unannounced mixed reality headset is approaching a level of speculation unseen since the Apple car rumors that persisted throughout the 2010s. And yet, analysts insist that the device is real and will launch in 2023. The latest report claims that Apple has finalized launch plans for its headset, and it’s going to be expensive even by Apple’s standards, with an asking price in excess of $2,000. 

Longtime Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says in his latest market research update that Apple has settled on an early 2023 launch for the mixed reality headset. However, doubts about consumer interest in AR experiences have led the company to plan modestly. It will allegedly aim to ship just 1.5 million units in 2023, an anemic number for a hardware-focused company like Apple. For comparison, Apple shipped 88.5 million iPhones in Q4 of 2021. 

With a price between $2,000 and $2,500, aiming low might be a good idea. Granted, Apple fans generally don’t mind paying high prices for the company’s hardwareit only takes a few minor upgrades to push the price of a MacBook Pro above $3,000. But people need and want laptops, and the use case for a mixed reality headset is still unclear. 

Apple’s metaverse play is expected to have 8K per-eye resolution and more than a dozen cameras for hand and environment tracking. It will run a custom Apple system-on-a-chip (SoC) similar to the updated M1 Pro in the 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pros, making it the most powerful AV/VR headset in the world. 

Apple won’t have the market for high-end mixed reality all to itself. Meta is expected to launch its new premium AR/VR headset, currently known as Project Cambria, this coming fall. Rumors suggest a price tag over $1,000 for this headset, which is a major jump over the Quest 2 even after its recent price hike. 

Meta’s secretive Project Cambria will be released this year. (Image: Meta)

Project Cambria might end up looking like a real bargain compared with the Apple headset. Of course, that was true of the pseudo-smartphones of 2007 and the iPhone. Apple came into an immature market with an expensive, premium product, and it worked. The same is true of the Apple Watch, which arrived a year after Google’s troubled Android Wear platform. Will the same thing happen in the metaverse?

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