Apple’s upcoming mixed reality headset (MR) has sparked concern among some employees within the company who are skeptical about the device’s price, practicality and market prospects, according to the New York Times.
A mixed reality headset is a technology that combines augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to allow users to interact with the real world in a virtual environment. Apple has been secretly developing this device, which is scheduled to be announced in June of this year.
According to eight current and former Apple employees, initial enthusiasm for the device has turned to skepticism, which is unprecedented when it comes to new products from Apple. Compared to previous products, the headset seems to lack clear goals and needs, unlike the iPod and iPhone, which address users’ pain points, and the $3,000 (currently about 20,610 CNY) price tag is too high.
Even some Apple executives have expressed doubts about the device’s future, with some employees reportedly leaving the project because they were unimpressed with the device’s potential and some being fired for slow progress on certain features of the device, including Siri.
Apple showed a video of the headset to its top 100 executives at a corporate meeting five years ago, produced by design director Jonathan Ive, according to the report. The video showed a man wearing an augmented reality headset calling his wife in San Francisco from a London cab, sharing the view of London through his eyes.
The New York Times also reiterated previous reports that the headset would feature a carbon fiber frame, a waist-worn battery, an external camera, two 4K displays, prescription lenses for glasses wearers and a “reality tuner” that would increase or decrease the live video feed of the surroundings.
Apple has positioned the device’s primary application as “co-existence (copresence),” which allows users to communicate via video conferencing and avatars. The device will also offer custom HDTV content from Hollywood filmmakers such as Jon Favreau. While there are similarities to Meta’s headset and “metaverse,” Apple is expected to position the device as something different from its existing products.
The device will also provide artists, designers and engineers with tools that allow them to draw and edit images in three dimensions. There are also applications that allow users to edit virtual reality videos with gestures. As a result, the device is expected to appeal more to businesses and design firms than to the average consumer. Some employees have even speculated that Apple may again delay the release of the headset, even though production of the device has already begun.