Apple is advancing development of its mixed reality headset with Pegatron as the exclusive partner for final assembly, according to DigiTimes. Based on the headset’s current status in the manufacturing validation process, the report predicts that mass production is expected to begin in March 2023 and an unveiling could take place the following month.

blue apple mixed reality headset mockup function
Initial production would be very limited, with a high price limiting Apple’s first headphones mainly to commercial markets.

Industry sources said that this XR headset primarily targets commercial markets. The price is higher and the shipping quantity is limited. Previous estimates indicated that the annual shipment of this device would reach 2.5 million units. However, at present, rough estimates place the annual shipment at around 0.7 to 0.8 million units. For manufacturers in the supply chain who benefit from quantity, this is not a particularly profitable order.

Despite the low profitability of the initial headset production, Apple’s manufacturing partners are reportedly willing to work with Apple on the project to prove their technical capabilities so they are well positioned for future AR/VR products. Recognition of the Apple brand also makes it easier for companies to raise funds in the capital markets to finance their activities.

Apple has been working on augmented reality, virtual reality and mixed reality headsets for several years, but reportedly faced development challenges that slowed its progress. While earlier rumors had suggested Apple might show off the headset sometime in 2022, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said in June that Apple would likely be aiming for a January 2023 introduction.

Today’s report from DigiTimes may not necessarily differ significantly from Kuo’s, as Kuo has suggested pre-orders won’t begin until Q2 2023 with shipments beginning with WWDC in June.

Therefore, Kuo and DigiTimes seem to be quoting similar timelines for mass production, with differences in the planned introduction schedule (January for Kuo and April for DigiTimes) based on Apple’s preference for how much time to give developers before the headset starts shipping.

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