Supply chain sources say that Apple AR headset testing has now reached the next phase of engineering validation after moving beyond the prototype stage.

This means there are now likely 100+ units that combine the functionality of the final device with something that looks less like a prototype and more like a real product …


Apple’s long-term ambition is believed to be a product dubbed Apple Glasses – a device with a similar form factor to standard eye-glasses, but with built-in augmented reality display overlayed. This is still years away yet.

Before then, we’re expecting a mixed-reality headset, combining virtual reality and augmented reality. This is likely to be an expensive device pitched mostly at developers and other professionals, launching either this year or next. We’re already seeing references to realityOS – the operating system for the device – in Apple open-source code.

Development phases

Apple’s design and testing process is of course a closely guarded secret. However, we know from former design head Jony Ive that the company favors making non-functional physical mockups at a very early stage, to get a more concrete sense of how different form factors might look and feel.

In parallel to this, other teams will work on the functionality, starting with bare-board versions and moving on to more fully formed prototypes.

Once the team has a prototype everyone is happy with, the next stage is known as engineering validation testing, or EVT. This is the point at which the company produces a very small run of devices that have both the functionality and look and feel of the final product. There may be multiple iterations of this stage, known as EVT 1, EVT 2, and so on.

Apple AR headset testing reaches EVT 2

A paywalled Digitimes report states that the headset has reached the EVT 2 stage.

Apple has reportedly conducted its second-phase engineering validation and testing (EVT 2) for its first AR headset, which is expected to debut by the end of 2022, according to sources at component suppliers.

Typically, around 50 products would be made at each EVT stage, meaning there are now probably at least 100 devices within Apple’s walls.

Following this, the next stage will be Design Validation Test (DVT), which aims to perfect the production process to ensure both functional and aesthetic requirements are met. This is also the point at which the robustness of the design is tested, with drop-tests, water immersion, and so on. Finally, DVT units are also submitted for regulatory approval.

The final stage before mass production is production validation testing (PVT), which is low-volume production to ensure that the manufacturing process works as expected. It was yesterday reported that the iPhone 14 has reached this stage.

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Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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