Apple's AR/VR headset development reportedly crippling its iPhone, other software plans

Ios 16 Iphone 13 Pro Hero
(Image credit: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

Apple's focus on ensuring that its AR/VR headset doesn't suffer any more delays is reportedly impacting the software releases for its other products.

Every year, Apple releases big new versions of iOS, iPadOS, macOS, and other device operating systems. But this time around, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman reports that Apple's updates will see fewer new features due to the headset focus.

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In his weekly Power On newsletter, Gurman says that the iOS 17/iPadOS 17 and macOS 14 will be impacted. In addition, Apple is thought to have "roped in resources from several hardware and software engineering departments" for the headset release, reducing the number of engineers available for Apple's software updates.

It's also thought that bugs stemming from the migration from iOS 15 to iOS 16 have given Apple pause in terms of piling new features into iOS 17.

"Apple's focus on the xrOS operating system — along with iOS 16 snags — has also cost it some new features in iOS 17 and iPadOS 17, the next major iPhone and iPad software updates," Gurman says. "That software, codenamed Dawn, may have fewer major changes than originally planned. The same goes for macOS 14, which is codenamed Sunburst."

If Apple follows its previous release cadence, we can expect the new software updates to be announced during a WWDC event in June. They'll then go through a months-long developer and public beta program before being released to the public in September or October.

As for that AR/VR headset, Apple reportedly intends to announce it this spring ahead of giving it to developers at WWDC to allow them to work on getting their apps ready for a final release to the public later this year.

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.