Report: Apple's AR/VR headset could rival Apple Watch in delay from announcement to release

Oculus headset
Oculus headset (Image credit: Oculus)

What you need to know

  • Apple's new headset is expected to be announced next year.
  • A new report claims Apple's headset will be announced but unavailable for a number of months.
  • Apple announced iPhone, Apple Watch, and iPad a long time before they went on sale.

People buying new products like iPhone 13 and Apple Watch Series 7 are accustomed to being able to place orders a week or so after the new products were announced. That seems unlikely to be the case with the heavily-rumored mixed reality headset, according to a new report.

This being a big new product announcement, it's thought that we should expect a delay between announcement and availability — similar to that we saw with other entirely new products like the original iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch.

According to a report by Bloomberg's Mark Gurman via his Power On newsletter, we could see the new headset ship months after it is announced.

I expect the gap between the introduction of Apple's first headset—scheduled for as early as next year—to be sizable and perhaps rival that of the original Apple Watch.

As for that Apple Watch, people had to wait 227 days before it went on sale and that wasn't the first time such a delay has been in play, either. Whenever a new product is announced, Apple tends to need a little while to get it ready. Sometimes longer than a little while, too.

When Apple releases the first version of a major, new product, however, consumers typically need to wait. Here are three recent examples:

  • Original iPhone: Introduced Jan. 9, 2007; released June 29, 2007 (171 days)
  • Original iPad: Introduced Jan. 27, 2010; released April 3, 2010 (66 days)
  • Original Apple Watch: Introduced Sept. 9, 2014; released April 24, 2015 (227 days)

Gurman believes that the delay will be related to various approvals and discussions that will need to take place outside of Apple, with the company preferring to get ahead of any leaks rather than have its plans appear online before it can set the story itself.

This all of course makes sense, as disappointing as it may be. Still, I'm still excited to see what Apple has up its sleeve, even if it could be a matter of months before I get that thing onto my head.

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.