Apple’s highly anticipated augmented reality headset was originally envisioned to be a pair of unobtrusive eyeglasses that could be worn all day, according to a Bloomberg report. However, after billions of dollars of investment into its development, the device eventually morphed into a headset resembling a pair of ski goggles that also requires a separate battery pack.
The report adds that the headset project faced numerous challenges due to CEO Tim Cook’s “dant” approach. His lack of involvement hindered the project, causing it to change direction multiple times since its inception. Unlike his predecessor, the late Steve Jobs, known for imposing his design sensibilities, Cook prefers to take a more hands-off stance on major projects.
This approach seems to be in common with other top executives such as Craig Federighi, Apple’s software chief, and Johny Srouji, a hardware executive, who have expressed concerns about the project. Federighi maintained a cautious dance, while Srouji even likened the endeavour to a “science project.”
However, the concerns of these executives may not have as significant an impact on the project’s success as consumer response. Bloomberg revealed that Apple initially planned to sell the headset at a loss but later decided to sell it at cost. The company has also revised its sales estimates down to 900,000 units annually, a significant reduction from the initial projection of 3 million.
Bloomberg’s report also shed light on internal clashes between Jony Ive, the former design executive, and Mike Rockwell, the executive in charge of headsets. Ive advocated for a “maximally portable device,” aligning with Cook’s vision. In contrast, Rockwell’s team initially pursued a different approach involving a Mac-mini-sized base station.
Apple eventually ended up postponing serious development of the project for four years.
Cut to the present, and the Apple MR headset is expected to launch on June 5 as a revolutionary new product that may one day even replace the iconic iPhone.