Apple is expected to announce its Reality Pro headset during the WWDC 2023 keynote on June 5. This Mixed Reality product is said to feature an “innovative three-display configuration” with two micro OLED 4K displays and another AMOLED panel for low-resolution peripheral vision. In addition, Apple could introduce a device similar to mainstream headsets, but with a premium look, by adding a stainless steel frame and a high-end mesh for the head, identical to what the AirPods Max offer.
All of these technologies will come with a higher price. Reports expect Apple to charge around $3,000 for the first-gen Reality Pro headset. That said, a TrendForce survey expects Apple to ship around 100,000 units of this device, with total production potentially capped at 300,000 this year.
These numbers show that analysts expect Apple to sell fewer Reality Pro headsets than anticipated. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman expects the Cupertino firm to sell around 900,00 headsets this year, while Kuo said less than 500,000 units – which is way more than TrendForce predicts.
That said, even if Apple doesn’t help to grow the AR/VR market, which is expected to have a drop in shipments to 7.45 million in 2023, it’s still a big win for the company, as Apple will be able to charge a way higher price than its competitors and still sell a first-gen product that will lack some features and apps.
For example, Mark Gurman already said that the device’s battery would be disappointing as it would likely last a couple of hours and might require an external battery. He said the AR/VR wearable would come with a portable battery — a design compromise Apple had to make for the first-generation model, as it would have been too heavy with the battery inside.
In addition, not all software features will ship alongside the Reality Pro headset. Lastly, while some third-party developers will be invited to create special apps for this device, we may see a very empty store, primarily due to the lack of a user base since the machine will be very expensive.
If even the high-selling iPhone 14 Pro models still lack developers adopting Dynamic Island features, imagine a first-gen device that costs $3,000, and fewer people can buy it. Apple will be lucky if it accomplishes selling that many devices in 2023.