Apple’s board of directors reportedly previewed its coming mixed-reality headset last week, indicating that company could soon launch a new product category.
“A version of the device was demonstrated to the directors during the latest gathering,” Bloomberg reported. It suggested that “development of the device has reached an advanced stage”.
Apple has not responded to The National's request for comments.
The iPhone maker’s board, which includes chief executive Tim Cook and eight independent directors, meets at least four times a year.
The board is usually the first audience, before the regular employees, to preview the future products.
Apple is intending to reveal the first look of the headset by the end of the year or next year, Bloomberg said. Consumers will be able to buy the device in 2023.
The company had planned to unveil the headset at next month’s Worldwide Developers Conference, but problems related to “content and overheating” caused a possible delay.
Codenamed N301, the headset has been under development since 2015. A technology development group of almost 2,000 engineers is working on the project
Apple Watch was the company's last major new product category. It was previewed in 2014 and introduced to the market in the next year.
The headset, which is expected to merge virtual and augmented reality, will provide new revenue for Apple, which earned almost 80 per cent of its annual sales from the device business.
It reported a 5.8 per cent annual jump in the first quarter’s net profit, which surged to more than $25 billion.
Apple iPod through the ages
Revenue rose 8.6 per cent year on year to $97.3bn during the quarter, exceeding analyst estimates of $93.8bn.
iPhone sales, which surged almost 5.5 per cent to $50.5bn in the quarter, account for about 52 per cent of the company's total revenue.
Revenue from wearables, home and accessories products increased almost 12.4 per cent yearly to more than $8.8bn.
Apple planned to release the first look of the headsets in 2019, with a consumer launch in 2020. Later, the first unveiling was pushed to 2021 and the consumer launch to 2022.
But the project was delayed for various reasons.
The augmented reality and virtual reality headset market jumped more than 90 per cent on an annual basis in 2021 to more than 11 million units, according to a report by International Data Corporation in Massachusetts.
Facebook owner Meta’s Quest 2 headset dominated the market with more than three quarters of the share.
Meta is also expected to launch a new mixed-reality headset in the coming months.