Some Apple employees are concerned about the usefulness and price of the company’s upcoming mixed reality headset. The New York Times reports.
The company’s initial enthusiasm for the device has apparently turned to skepticism, according to eight current and former Apple employees The New York Times. The change of tone reportedly marks an unprecedented level of concern about a new Apple product within the company, in stark contrast to previous product launches that have been pursued with determination and enthusiasm.
The first-generation headset is reportedly seen as a bridge to future products that require technological breakthroughs, but many employees would be concerned about the device’s $3,000 price, utility, and unproven market. Skeptics have questioned whether the device is “a solution in search of a problem,” unlike the iPod and iPhone. The headset apparently isn’t “powered by the same brightness” as Apple’s other products.
Some Apple employees have left the project due to doubts about its potential, while others have been fired for lack of progress with some of the device’s functionality, including Siri. The discontent is said to extend to members of Apple’s leadership, some of whom have questioned the device’s prospects.
The headset was presented to many of Apple’s top 100 executives five years ago via a corporate retreat video created by design chief Jony Ive. The video showed a man in a London cab wearing an augmented reality headset calling his wife in San Francisco and sharing the sights of London through the husband’s eyes.
The New York Times confirmed previous reports that the headset will feature a carbon fiber frame, hip-mounted battery, outward-facing cameras, dual 4K screens, prescription lenses for eyeglass wearers, and a “reality dial” to boost real-time video throughput or to reduce throughput from the environment.
Apple has focused on ensuring the device excels at video conferencing and spending time as virtual avatars, calling the headset’s main application “copresence.” There will also be high-resolution custom TV content from Hollywood filmmakers, including Jon Favreau. Despite similarities to Meta’s headsets and the “metaverse”, Apple is expected to pitch the device as something a departure from its existing offerings.
The device also offers tools for artists, designers and engineers, enabling drawing and image editing in 3D space. There will also be applications for editing virtual reality video with hand gestures. As a result, it is expected to appeal to more companies and design companies than the ordinary consumer. Some employees have reportedly speculated that Apple could delay the launch of the headset again, though production is now underway for a June reveal.