After at least seven years in development, Apple is widely expected to unveil their first generation XR headset as soon as June. A former Apple engineer who worked on the product’s development, told the Financial Times that the company has been postponing the launch each year for the past few years and the pressure is on to finally introduce it.
While Apple’s famed industrial design team under Jonathan Ive wanted to delay their headset until a more lightweight version of AR glasses became technically feasible, Apple’s operations team wanted to ship a first-version of their headset as soon as possible.
Just a few years ago, going against the wishes of Apple’s all-powerful design team would have been unthinkable. But since the departure of its longtime leader Jony Ive in 2019, Apple’s structure has been reshuffled, with design now reporting to Williams.
A former Apple engineer said operations taking more control over product development is a “logical progression” of Apple’s trajectory under Cook. The best part of working at Apple, this person said, used to be coming up with engineering solutions to the “insane requirements” from the design team, but that has changed in recent years.
Apple is only expecting to sell around a million units of its headset in its first 12 months, according to two people familiar with its planning, fewer than the first generations of the iPhone or Apple Watch did in the year following their launch, as the Counterpoint chart below proves out.
Analysts at Morgan Stanley wrote in a note to clients earlier this monththat “The market has historically underestimated the long-term impact of new [Apple] product/services launches.”
Amit Daryanani, analyst at Evercore ISI, said Apple often uses a first-generation product to garner the interest of loyal Apple users and serve as a catalyst for its vast developer community.
For more on this, read the full story at the Financial Times.