Apple’s augmented reality glasses project has reportedly been put on hold


Another Apple rumor from Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman focuses on the company’s efforts to create groundbreaking augmented reality glasses that could make picking up your iPhone obsolete — if they ever get built.

The race to develop consumer-friendly AR glasses is well underway, despite notable failures like Google’s abandoned Glass project and Microsoft’s now business- and military-focused HoloLens.

Meta, Google and others are working on similar projects with names like Project Iris and Nazare, but now Gurman is reporting Apple’s plan to release glasses after the launch of its first mixed reality project – a high-end headset that this debuts year — had already been pushed from 2023 to 2025 and is now on hold indefinitely.

Apple’s initial sensor and camera headset could cost around $3,000, combining dedicated VR hardware with a desktop-like M2 CPU, similar to those found in the MacBook Pro and Mac Mini computers Apple announced this morning.

Gurman writes that a cheaper version using iPhone-like hardware launching in 2024 or 2025 could have a starting price closer to $1,500, or roughly where Meta’s Quest Pro is now. This also follows his previous coverage of the existence of Reality Pro / Reality One trademarks, which could help delineate the different classes of headsets.

That price doesn’t suggest that widespread adoption and availability of mixed reality headsets are just around the corner. Still, Apple’s typical high-end hardware strategy ties in better with that than launching something akin to Meta’s cheapest Quest VR headsets.

However, they may find success based on alternative approaches. Google announced that it would begin testing prototypes in the world last fall. At the same time, Meta’s three-step Nazare/Artemis/Hypernova plan begins with a pair of glasses given only to developers. The report doesn’t mention Apple’s changed plans due to budget cuts, but with layoffs and budget cuts hitting big tech companies, navigating the current economic situation could be as important as figuring out how to make waveguide displays work better or designing a battery that fits on a device made for someone’s face.