Apple's futuristic AR glasses reportedly delayed over 'technical challenges'

Glasses perched atop an iPhone
(Image credit: Future)

Apple is set to announce its oft-rumored AR/VR headset this year, but its more ambitious AR glasses project has reportedly been delayed due to technical challenges related to its development.

The Apple Glass project was expected to be a follow-up product to the AR/VR Reality Pro headset, but that now isn’t set to happen. It’s reported that Apple will instead launch a cheaper version of that headset to fill the void, with Apple Glass arriving later.

Little was known about Apple Glass beyond the fact that it was supposed to be less intrusive than having to wear a full-on headset, but it now appears that Apple has decided to hold the product back while it works out some kinks.

 A fluid reality 

The fact that Apple has had to change its plans is indicative of the difficulty of the work that it is trying to do, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman says in a report detailing the delay. 

“The company is betting that AR and VR devices could be a major moneymaker, but the technical challenges of producing a consumer-friendly product has bedeviled much of the tech world,” Gurman said, adding that Apple’s hope of offering a more lightweight alternative to the AR/VR headset “now appears many years away — if it happens at all.”

With the new AR/VR headset expected to be a large, costly device that requires an external battery pack the idea of lightweight AR glasses is appealing for obvious reasons. However, it’s now clear that Apple simply isn’t ready to offer a product that is expected to be hugely impressive if it ever ships. Previous rumors pointed to something like Google Glass but without the obvious AR hardware protruding from the side.

For now, attentions turn to a product that has been equally rumored for years but now seems imminent. The AR/VR headset is just around the corner, with an announcement expected within months.

Apple has already released new products this year, however. The new 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pros were released yesterday, as was an updated Mac mini. That machine in particular could well now be the best Mac for a ton of people thanks to a $100 price drop.

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.