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The reasons behind Apple’s mixed reality headset delays

Apple Mixed Reality Delays - VR Expert

Many rumors have spun around the much-anticipated Apple mixed reality headset: codenamed N301. However, updated insights from The Information have been released from internal sources, uncovering the reasons behind the Apple Mixed Reality headset’s many delays. Here is what we know.

In the beginning

The Information interviewed anonymously ten people familiar with Apple’s mixed reality efforts since 2016. They tell that its conception began from a wowed Apple board, excited about what they experienced in the early days of mixed reality. While they further expressed concerns about Facebook’s efforts within virtual reality at the time. Effectively, more investment and support greenlit Apple’s foray into mixed reality.

Technical difficulties and lack of active executive support

The first reason behind N301’s numerous delays was its many technical complications owing to its novel and innovative technologies, as we have covered prior of its heat dispersion complications.

Early in its prototyping, a lack of active support from the Apple executive suite hampered its progress towards completion.

Apple Mixed Reality Delays - VR Expert

As The Information writes, “he [Tim Cook] rarely visits the group at its offices away from the main Apple campus, those people said. The lack of a honcho of Cook’s stature to champion the headset, code-named N301, has made it harder at times for it to compete with other products such as the Mac and iPhone for head count and engineering resources”.

Design doubts

Additionally, the Apple Mixed Reality team experienced pushback when they requested support from other developers around Apple. Namely, the famous industrial designer Jony Ive and his team had concerns about the practical uses of a virtual reality headset. Initially doubting that consumers would wear such a headset for hours, together with VR’s isolating and alienating side effects.

Ultimately, these concerns ended up being the conception of the headset turning into a mixed reality headset.

Apple Mixed Reality Delays - VR Expert

From tethered to standalone

In 2019, Jony Ive’s design team further flagged their concerns that a high-powered, premium MR headset requiring being tethered to a powerful computer to function would be too unmanageable for mass adoption. As a result, the Apple headset changed from being enterprise-grade to a lower-priced and less premium consumer headset, with the feature-rich Mixed Reality headset priced between $2,000 to $3,000 to arrive later.

Conclusion

Apple’s mixed reality headset has been delayed multiple times for numerous reasons. Technical difficulties of heat dispersion, a general lack of active executive support from Tim Cook and design doubts about a commercial VR headset’s practical uses. All these insights, reported by The Information, tell of the trying mixed reality journey Apple has undergone since its prototyping in 2015.

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