Apple mixed-reality headset: 3 reasons why employees say it will flop (report)

Apple VR headset
(Image credit: Getty Images/AHPhotoswpg)

As we reported earlier this month, Apple's highly anticipated AR/VR headset is likely to flop. Why? According to a Financial Times report, the head-mounted display is being rushed to the final production stage. (There were whispers that the engineering team isn't satisfied with the current prototype.)

As it turns out, we're not the only ones to suspect that the mixed-reality headset will fall short of fans' expectations. According to the New York Times, Apple's employees have anonymously come forward to express wariness about the upcoming goggles' success. 

The Apple mixed-reality headset may be a disappointment

Apple's mixed-reality headset may certainly be a hit as far as causing a social media frenzy. I foresee fans expressing excitement over the head-mounted display while others deride its design and price. After all, the long-rumored AR/VR headset is expected to cost a cool $3,000 — three times the price of the Meta Quest Pro

Apple VR headset

(Image credit: Getty Images/Ranta Images)

The New York Times claims that it spoke to eight former and current Apple employees who requested anonymity. (If their identity were revealed, they could get in big trouble for breaching Apple's secrecy policy regarding future products.) Gathering intel from the staff, here are three reasons why the headset may fail:

1. It doesn't seem to solve a problem in the market. The iPod allowed users to put digital songs in their pockets. The Apple Watch is an extension of owners' iPhones, allowing them to gain quick access to their device via their wrists. What is the clear solution this headset solves? Unfortunately, according to the anonymous staff, that question can't be answered.

2. It's $3,000, so it doesn't have broad appeal. The headset's price tag and apps suggest that it is designed to appeal to enterprise customers (e.g., design firms). The NYTimes acknowledges that the iPhone is pricey, too, but it has real utility, implying that the headset won't offer much value to the general populace.

3. A revolving door of leadership doesn't help. The NYTimes mentioned that the headset team has been marred by leadership departures. This coincides with the Financial Times' report that mentioned there's been "significant staff turnover in the division" since longtime leader Jony Ive left in 2019.

What will the headset look like?

According to the NYTimes, and a few other reports, the headset looks like ski goggles. It is wrapped in a carbon-fiber frame and comes with a hip pack for battery support. It's packed with cameras that capture the real world, but features two 4K display that can render apps, movies, TV shows, and more.

Apple mixed-reality headset

Apple mixed-reality headset (Image credit: The Information)

"Users can turn a 'reality dial' to increase or decrease real-time video from the world account them," the NYTimes said.

The mixed-reality headset will likely grab artists' attention, allowing designers, engineers, and other creatives to draw in space, thanks to its AR capabilities. 

Keep in mind, though, that this headset isn't designed for users who wear glasses. On the plus side, the company plans to sell prescription lenses for the goggles.

Apple's AR/VR headset is expected to debut this June.

Kimberly Gedeon

Kimberly Gedeon, holding a Master's degree in International Journalism, launched her career as a journalist for MadameNoire's business beat in 2013. She loved translating stuffy stories about the economy, personal finance and investing into digestible, easy-to-understand, entertaining stories for young women of color. During her time on the business beat, she discovered her passion for tech as she dove into articles about tech entrepreneurship, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the latest tablets. After eight years of freelancing, dabbling in a myriad of beats, she's finally found a home at Laptop Mag that accepts her as the crypto-addicted, virtual reality-loving, investing-focused, tech-fascinated nerd she is. Woot!