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Apple Said to Postpone Development of Augmented Reality Glasses

Development put on indefinite hold due to technical challenges, Bloomberg reports.

Shara Tibken/CNET

Apple plans to release a mixed-reality headset this year, but it's indefinitely postponed the development of its lightweight augmented-reality glasses due to technical challenges, Bloomberg reported Tuesday.

Apple's AR glasses were expected to be released after the debut of its mixed-reality headset, which combines elements of both augmented reality and virtual reality. But now the company plans to follow this year's release of its mixed-reality headset with a lower-cost version of the mixed-reality headset as soon as 2024 or early 2025, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with deliberations.

Unlike virtual reality, which promises to immerse goggle-wearers in new and exciting digital worlds, AR overlays images and data atop the real world.

The iPhone maker has for years made no secret of its AR ambitions. Apple CEO Tim Cook has indicated the company is preparing for a big future in AR, saying it's a technology that's potentially as important as the iPhone and unleashing a number of AR tools to its developers. 

Apple has been integrating augmented reality into its devices for years, but the company is widely expected to release a much-rumored mixed-reality headset in 2023, although the target release date of the AR/VR headset keeps sliding. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo expected an announcement event as soon as this month, while Bloomberg's Mark Gurman reported that the company aimed to unveil the headset in the spring ahead of the annual Worldwide Developers Conference in June.

2023 looks like a year full of virtual reality headsets that we originally expected in 2022, including the PlayStation VR 2 and Meta Quest 3. Apple has already laid down plenty of AR clues, hinting at what its mixed-reality future could hold and has been active in AR on its own iPhones and iPads for years.

Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.