Apple AR/VR headset might not launch at WWDC 2022 – but it should show up

WWDC 2022
(Image credit: Apple)

Despite the rumors, one expert analyst still believes that the long-awaited Apple AR/VR headset won’t be released until 2023.

With Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC 2022) scheduled for next week (June 6 to June 10), many fans of the company’s tech are eager to see the announcements it’ll make. In particular, people are expecting we’ll finally see the long-rumored Apple AR/VR headset – but Ming-Chi Kuo has indicated we shouldn’t get our hopes up (via MacRumors).

Kuo tweeted that it’ll take “some time before Apple AR/MR headset enters mass production.” He goes on to speculate that if Apple announces the headset at WWDC 2022 its competitors will find a way to create “copycat projects” that’ll hit shelves before Apple’s launch in 2023.

While we have to take all rumors and predictions with a pinch of salt, Kuo has a strong track record of predicting Apple’s release schedule by following production trends at its suppliers. Kuo is also backed up by previous rumors that the Apple AR/VR headset won’t launch until 2023 – though not everyone is in complete agreement.

A WWDC 2022 announcement for the Apple headset seems possible because of two recent reports. The first is that the headset was supposedly shown off to Apple’s highest executives at a meeting. While this isn’t a guarantee, it strongly suggests that the headset is nearing the end of its development and is in a state that can be demoed. Such a meeting could be Apple’s leadership deciding if it’s ready for WWDC this year or not.

Additionally, the term “realityOS” was recently trademarked by a company called Realityo Systems LLC. This business has no online presence and these are its only two trademarks; combine this with the rumors that realityOS is Apple’s name for its headset’s operating system and that Apple has a habit of using similar shell companies to trademark names ahead of announcements, and it seems like some kind of AR/VR reveal is imminent.

Analysis: Is the Apple headset coming to WWDC 2022 or not?

If you ask us, WWDC 2022 won’t mark the launch of the Apple AR/VR headset – but that doesn’t mean it won’t make an appearance in some form. 

WWDC, as the name suggests, is a developer conference. Sure, Apple does make hardware announcements that consumers can get excited about too (though it didn't last year), but it's mostly an industry-focused and more technical event.

Plus, this year’s WWDC will be Apple’s first major in-person tech event following the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. Developers and journalists are going to gather in the flesh to see what Apple has to show off on its stage and behind closed doors - though there will still be restrictions in place.

Based on reports the Apple headset’s design is pretty much finalized, which means Apple at long last has a clear idea of what its hardware will be capable of when it launches. But hardware is only as good as the software it has – no one will want to spend hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars on a device that can’t do anything. 

As such, we expect WWDC 2022 will be Apple’s opportunity to get developers using its AR/VR hardware to drum up excitement for its new device. Excitement that could in turn lead to software support for when the headset launches in 2023.

We’ll have to wait and see if any of this will make it onto Apple’s main stage, but we won’t be shocked if its “one more thing” announcement was a first look at realityOS or its headset. Just don’t expect more than a few images and a brief demo if we get anything at all.

Hamish Hector
Senior Staff Writer, News

Hamish is a Senior Staff Writer for TechRadar and you’ll see his name appearing on articles across nearly every topic on the site from smart home deals to speaker reviews to graphics card news and everything in between. He uses his broad range of knowledge to help explain the latest gadgets and if they’re a must-buy or a fad fueled by hype. Though his specialty is writing about everything going on in the world of virtual reality and augmented reality.