Apple's mixed reality headset reportedly behind schedule for 2021 launch

iPhone, iPad, and sunglasses
iPhone, iPad, and sunglasses (Image credit: Rene Ritchie / iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple is reportedly behind on its prototyping schedule for Apple glasses.
  • It isn't clear whether that's Appel Glass, or its mixed reality headset, however.

The heavily-rumored Apple Glass might be behind schedule, with DigiTimes reporting that prototype testing hasn't taken place during the expected timescales.

The paywalled report says that P2 prototype testing of "AR glasses" was expected in the first quarter of this year, but that Apple hasn't met that schedule.

Apple did not start P2 prototype testing for its AR glasses as expected by its supply chain partners in first-quarter 2021, which means it is unlikely for the device to begin volume production in first-quarter 2022, according to industry sources.

However, it isn't clear how much credence we should give this report. DigiTimes' use of the word "glasses" would suggest that it's talking about Apple Glass, an AR device that is thought to be a number of years away from production. The device that had been rumored for a 2021 announcement is actually a different one altogether – a mixed reality headset. It's possible that DigiTimes is simply getting its wording wrong, however.

Apple Glass, a new type of product that will piggyback off of an iPhone in a similar way to the non-cellular Apple Watch Series 6, is thought to be something more ambitious than a mixed reality headset. For that reason, we've heard suggestions that Apple Glass won't be ready until 2025 at the earliest.

With all of this in mind, I suspect that DigiTimes is actually talking about that mixed reality headset, a device that will be similar to existing virtual reality headsets but with cameras attached so as to also offer augmented reality features and capabilities.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.