Apple VR release pushed by Tim Cook despite major design warning

Apple Reality Pro concept
(Image credit: ahmadcheni31)

Apple doesn't experiment with new product categories all that often. Its mixed-reality headset will mark the company's entrance into a new space after a while, and VR/AR seems to not quite have matured just yet. It appears that the designers at Apple thought the same and didn't quite want to debut Apple VR this early.

A new report from Financial Times says that Apple CEO Tim Cook pushed for Apple VR to launch early, despite the designers at Apple warning that the device category wasn't quite ready for them to enter, leading to a launch as early as later this year.

"Huge pressure to ship" from Apple CEO, say former Apple engineers

Apparently, Apple's design team had a goal of making thin and light mixed-reality glasses. The current state of the VR market is quite the opposite, with headsets being rather large, and pretty much designed to be worn indoors. While Apple still wants to make those thin and light glasses happen, the timeframe has shifted several years down the line, with a larger model being used to debut.

Apparently, Tim Cook and COO Jeff Williams thought it would be more prudent to enter the market with a device as soon as possible, rather than wait for the form and technology to be perfected for a smaller and more ergonomic design.

The Financial Times report states, "Apple’s operations team wanted to ship a “version one” product, a ski goggle-like headset that will allow users to watch immersive 3D video, perform interactive workouts or chat with realistic avatars through a revamped FaceTime. But Apple’s famed industrial design team had cautioned patience, wanting to delay until a more lightweight version of AR glasses became technically feasible. Most in the tech industry expect that to take several more years."

This report follows Apple's decision to not have a design lead anymore, with the design team now reporting to Jeff Williams instead. After a remarkable run from Jony Ive, Evans Hankey led the design team for about three years and will be leaving the company soon with no replacement planned.

Palash Volvoikar

Palash has been a technology and entertainment journalist since 2013. Starting with Android news and features, he has also worked as the news head for Wiki of Thrones, and a freelance writer for Windows Central, Observer, MakeUseOf, MySmartPrice, ThinkComputers, and others. He also worked as a writer and journalist for Android Authority, covering computing, before returning to freelancing all over town.