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Apple’s ‘mixed-reality’ headset moves towards launch – and is already proving controversial

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Apple is moving towards the release of its new mixed-reality headset – and it is already proving controversial.

The headset is due to be unveiled to the public in June, according to a number of reports. Apple is hoping that it will be another product line to add to the iPhone and the Mac, and serve as a major new technology platform.

But the project has already sparked some rebellion from inside the company. Various staff within Apple have argued that the headset is not ready, and that launching the version of the product that can ship now is too risky, according to multiple reports, including a new story from the New York Times.

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The headset is facing a number of challenges. It is expected to cost around $3,000, does not have an obvious use, will rely on a battery and is likely to have limited support at its launch.

Some inside the company have argued that Apple would be better to wait until some of the design challenges have been solved, including a bulky design and an external battery that will need regular recharging.

But Apple is seemingly pushing ahead for a launch this year. That led to a meeting, last week, that saw Apple’s top 100 highest-ranking executives brought to the company’s on-campus theatre to see a reveal of the product, according to Bloomberg.

Executives saw a more refined version of the product at the latest event, the report claimed. While previous demonstrations have shown off an earlier and less clear version of the product, the new demonstration was “polished, glitzy and exciting”, according to Bloomberg’s Mark German, who has leaked a number of Apple devices before they were revealed.

Executives looked to position the new headset as being similar to the Apple Watch. That also launched slowly – with a limited product that saw slow sales at first – but gradually saw both hardware and software improve and more widespread adoption from customers and developers.

As such, the sales of Apple’s new headset are expected to be limited. While Apple will probably become the market leader in mixed-reality in a few months, that is only because there are no really significant competitors.

Apple is expecting to sell a million of the headsets in the first year, according to numerous reports. At $3,000 each, that would mean $3 billion in revenues – very little, compared to existing products – and barely any profit because of the cost of making the device.

But eventually Apple is hoping to release both cheaper and more capable versions of the headsets.