Apple’s much-rumored AR/VR headset will be “pricey” and “niche” when it finally launches, according to a new Bloomberg report by the well-connected Mark Gurman.

According to Gurman, the first headset will be a precursor to a more ambitious launch in the future.

As a mostly virtual reality device, it will display an all-encompassing 3-D digital environment for gaming, watching video and communicating. AR functionality, the ability to overlay images and information over a view of the real world, will be more limited. Apple has planned to launch the product as soon as 2022, going up against Facebook Inc.’s Oculus, Sony Corp.’s PlayStation VR and headsets from HTC Corp., the people said. They asked not to be identified discussing private plans.

From what Gurman says, it doesn’t sound like we should expect anything amazing from this first device and Apple also doesn’t expect to see huge sales numbers. Instead, it’s thought that this initial release is more a way for Apple to test the water ahead of a larger launch for a more refined product in the future.

The plans suggest that Apple’s first headset will be far more expensive than those from rivals, which cost about $300 to $900. Some Apple insiders believe the company may sell only one headset per day per retail store. Apple has roughly 500 stores, so in that scenario, annual sales would be just over 180,000 units — excluding other sales channels. That would put it on par with other pricey Apple products, such as the $5,999 Mac Pro desktop computer. An Apple spokesman declined to comment.

This all sounds very much like the initial launch will almost be a developer unit, designed to give app developers hardware with which to test their wares. However, the kit will still be high-end, with Apple said to be using higher resolution displays than anything currently in the market. A CPU more powerful than the M1 chip is also thought to be included.

There have long been rumors relating to a potential headset of some sorts over the years and we do seem to be closing in on an announcement. That said, we don’t expect anything to be ready for a good while yet.

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