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Apple VR was supposed to come out in 2019, prototypes used Windows

Apple Vr
Apple Vr (Image credit: The Information)

What you need to know

  • A new report has detailed an inside look at the development of Apple's VR headset.
  • A new report claims the device was supposed to launch in 2019.
  • It also says that early prototypes ran Windows.

A new report has revealed that the Apple VR headset was supposed to come out in 2019 and that the earliest prototypes ran Windows.

From The Information (opens in new tab):

For years, Apple has toiled in secret on an augmented and virtual reality headset that could one day lead it to a post-iPhone future. But the project struggled to get off the ground and has been beset by delays caused by technical and leadership challenges.

The report reveals that Apple's prototypes of the headset "weren't exactly the lustrous products the company is known for," claiming they were "cobbled together from off-the-shelf parts and ran on Microsoft's Windows operating system." Others were "jury-rigged" HTC vives and one was so heavy it had to held up by a small crane to be worn.

The report says that Apple VR was supposed to be released in 2019 according to multiple sources, but has slipped "several times" since then and is now tipped for 2023 and a possible announcement "by this year's end."

The report says technical challenges have held back the project, and that CEO Tim Cook rarely visits the team, although he is behind the project.

The report says the project was first demoed in 2016 but required extensive hiring to bring to life:

To realize their vision, the Apple team would need to develop everything from new screens to silicon chips to cameras to software.Eventually, the team argued, those investments would help Apple make much sleeker AR glasses, something it was also working on, which people could more comfortably wear on their faces. The founder and leader of the team, charismatic executive Mike Rockwell, believed such glasses could one day replace the iPhone, a product that now accounts for more than half of the brand's revenue.

The report also reveals how a crack team of VR folk at Apple encountered pushback from design legend Jony Ive, who believed that VR alienated users by cutting them off from the outside world.

You can read the full report here (opens in new tab). Apple reportedly has both a VR headset and a lightweight set of AR glasses in the works for the future, with some going as far as to suggest they could replace Apple's best iPhones as user's primary mode of connection day today.

Stephen Warwick
Stephen Warwick

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple.