• An ex-Apple marketing exec thinks the company’s upcoming headset risks being a flop.
  • Michael Gartenberg told Insider if rumors and leaks are correct, it “would be a very un-Apple product.”
  • Apple is expected to debut its mixed-reality headset next month, and is expected to cost $3,000.

A former marketing executive at Apple is casting doubt on the company’s upcoming mixed-reality headset that is expected to debut in less than a month.

Michael Gartenberg, a former marketing exec at Apple, told Bloomberg the headset may be “one of the great tech flops of all time.”

Gartenberg indicated that Apple’s headset was a risky bet due to the current lack of a major market for similar headsets — reportedly a concern among Apple’s employees too — and the underwhelming sales from other competitors in the space like Magic Leap and Microsoft’s HoloLens, according to Bloomberg.

“I suspect there’s a lot of internal pressure for the next big thing,” Gartenberg told the news publication.

Apple is reportedly planning to debut its mixed-reality headset at its Worldwide Developers Conference on June 5 following delays in the last couple of years and despite reported concerns from Apple employees about its $3,000 price tag, overall usefulness, and how it will perform. Bloomberg previously reported that some early testers have said the headset, which is reportedly ski goggle-shaped, is uncomfortable and doesn’t have a “killer” app.

Gartenberg told Insider that if the rumors and leaks around the headset “are correct,” it “would be a very un-Apple product.”

“Apple builds devices that can be sold in the millions with a solid profit margin, not high cost ‘experiments’ to be unveiled in public and sold to developers or enthusiasts with deep pockets,” Gartenberg said. “This is a doomed model that Google tried with Glass & Microsoft with HoloLens.”

Apple did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment ahead of publication.

Unless Apple’s headset has “some surprise use case beyond games, which is the only mass market use we have seen,” the headset just seems expensive and too large with its rumored external battery pack, Gartenberg said. He added that it’s possible outsiders don’t know Apple’s reasoning behind the headset, “but also possible Apple wants to demonstrate some sort of innovation at a time when iPhones and iPads are just iterative products from the Jobs era,” while other companies are coming out with new products like foldable phones and AI services.

“It also appears that it could be a huge flop because of the hype and the fact that expectations from Apple have been high since the iPhone was introduced,” Gartenberg said.

Gartenberg previously wrote about his thoughts on Apple’s new headset, saying he doesn’t believe it’s Apple’s “next big thing.”

“Until Apple, or any other company, can demonstrate a truly compelling reason for large numbers of people to want to wear AR around, or add VR to their quiver of home-entertainment options, I fear that the tech will struggle to gain widespread adoption,” Gartenberg wrote.

If the headset debuts on June 5, it will be the newest major product from Apple since its Apple Watch was released in 2015 — a product that saw some criticism and skepticism early on but has since driven significant revenue for the iPhone company and become a market leader in the category.

Apple has reportedly been working on its mixed reality headset for seven years, and previously missed deadlines to release it in 2019 and 2022. Some employees working on the product told The New York Times in a March report that the headset release could be delayed again due to an uncertain economy, but the latest report from Bloomberg indicates the current plan is to unveil it to the world on June 5.