As 2021 draws to a close, rumors are focused on what Apple might present next in 2022. More than half a decade after the company unveiled a brand new product category with the Apple Watch, all indications are that the next big launch will be AR headphones.
With that in mind, Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman writes in his latest edition Power On newsletter that, indeed, Apple is planning headphones for 2022, but that does not mean that it will be so easy for customers to reach them so quickly.
According to the report, the same thing that happened to the original iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch could happen to these headphones being talked about. This means that Apple could announce it, but it will take some time for the product to really launch:
I expect that the gap between the presentation of the first Apple headphones – scheduled for next year – will be significant and that it may be a competitor to the original Apple Watch.
Apple’s first headphones will have a complex design, expensive to make, along with interchangeable lenses. The company will likely have to work with governments around the world on possible prescription lenses and partner with a multitude of manufacturers on complex technologies that neither side has shipped before.
This will take time, and of course, Apple will want to have such a revolutionary new category in the public before exposing it to the risks of leaks when it comes into the hands of more Apple employees and partners who will have to contribute before it is released.
As Gurman recalls, the original Apple Watch took 227 days to actually launch. he writes:
Around the time of Apple Watch’s debut, Cook – three years after his tenure as CEO – was under pressure from investors and customers to deliver a new product category. It would be difficult to keep them for another 200 days. In addition, it made a nice combination with the larger line of iPhone 6 and Apple Pay.
Interest in Apple’s new headphones has risen in recent days as analyst Ming-Chi Kuo also confirmed Apple’s plans, with a report on the company’s new AR headphones that are said to be launched in the fourth quarter of 2022.
According to Kuo, Apple’s AR headphones will have a processor “with the same level of computing power as a Mac” and their chip design will be the most significant difference between the Apple AR headphones and its competitors. The analyst writes:
 It has computing power at the Mac level (at the PC level), (2) can run independently without relying on a Mac (PC) or iPhone (phone), and (3) supports a comprehensive range of applications rather than specific applications.
Although it looks confusing, rumors highlight two different products: Apple’s AR headphones and the company’s Mixed Reality headphones, which Gurman said would be “expensive”. Apple will benefit from this long schedule to create hype around these following large product categories:
More important will be the months of necessary publicity to get people interested in a new (and expensive) product and gather enough support among software developers to make it pay off. I could see Apple announcing the headset at its Worldwide Developers Conference 2022 and focusing that event on AR and VR application development. Then the product could be delivered at the end of next year or in 2023.
Are you excited about Apple’s new product category? Do you think AR will finally show its full potential? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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