Some employees left Apple’s headset project over concerns that it won’t take off, according to a report from The New York Times.
Although the expected launch of Apple’s mixed-reality headset is just months away, some employees don’t seem to think the device is ready yet, according to a report from The New York Times. While some employees reportedly exited the project due to their doubts, others remain skeptical about the headset’s potential for success — especially at a price point of $3,000.
Apple’s widely expected to reveal the headset at its Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in June. According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, Apple recently demoed the device in front of Apple’s top 100 executives at the Steve Jobs Theater in California, “suggesting that a public unveiling is getting close.”
But behind the “glitzy” presentation, the Times suggests that there has been some internal turmoil about the future of the mixed reality headset. While that seems pretty normal whenever a company makes a foray into a completely new product category (which is something Apple has done several times in the past), the Times says things are different this time around.
“Some internal skeptics have questioned if the new device is a solution in search of a problem,” the Times writes. “Unlike the iPod, which put digital songs in people’s pockets, and the iPhone, which combined the abilities of a music player and a phone, the headset hasn’t been driven by the same clarity.”
Some of this uncertainty has been driven by a string of executive departures on the product design team, the Times notes, which started with Jony Ive in 2019 and was then followed by the departure of his successor, Evans Hankey, last year. Apple hasn’t named a new head of industrial design since and reportedly left engineer Mike Rockwell in charge of the headset’s development.
According to the Times, doubts from both employees and Apple leadership have some workers wondering whether the company will postpone the launch of the headset. It doesn’t seem like this will happen, however, as sources tell the Times that a June launch is still a go, as “headset manufacturing is underway” for the planned reveal in just a few months.
The headset rumor mill has been pretty active in the months leading up to the device’s expected launch, with reports indicating that it could resemble a pair of ski goggles, feature a physical crown that lets you switch in and out of VR, and have a physical battery pack that sits in your pocket. While the $3,000 device may be geared toward developers when it first launches, Gurman believes that Apple’s working on a more affordable version of the headset that it could introduce as soon as next year.