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Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes we’ll finally see Apple’s long-rumored mixed-reality headset announced in January 2023.

Sure, we’ve heard these kinds of predictions before, and our own look at what to expect from Apple in 2022 predicts a headset is still some way off. But Kuo is perhaps the most reliable analyst out there for these things, and with Facebook/Meta pushing its own virtual reality “metaverse” pretty hard, it may be time for Apple to finally offer an alternative.

Hold up a second. What even is a mixed-reality headset?

While nobody knows exactly what to expect, the suggestion is that Apple is working on something similar to the Meta Quest (formerly Oculus Quest), a virtual reality (VR) headset that is popular for gaming and communicating in a virtual world. The difference that would make Apple’s reality “mixed” instead of purely virtual is a focus on augmented reality (AR) too. (That’s when digital elements are combined with the real world, as seen in the many iPhone apps that already utilize Apple’s ARKit.)

According to Kuo’s notes, the upcoming “Apple Headset” will be a standalone device – that is, not dependent on an iPhone, iPad, or Mac to function – that offers both AR and VR experiences. He also suggestions it will be “the most complicated product Apple has ever designed,” combining dual 8K OLED displays with an array of cameras that can track your eye and hand movements during use.

We’re not expecting this to be a bestseller any time soon, but although the AR/VR space is still relatively niche, there’s certainly a reasonable audience for it – especially in Chinese markets. Facebook is currently leading the VR charge and it would be nice for some healthy competition from a company like Apple with a far superior track record when it comes to privacy. For many, that will be key to trusting a futuristic gadget like this.

Apple has offered some form of AR on iPhone for five years now, and CEO Tim Cook is clearly excited about what the future holds for this technology. Though Apple staff are still coy on the existence of a headset, it’s looking more and more likely that its development team is cooking up something.

Thanks to Andrea Copellino for the Apple Headset mockup used at the top of this article. Check out his concept video for a deeper look at his unofficial designs.

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