A new report points to the possible launch of Apple’s first AR/VR headset by 2022, while its AR glasses will follow later in 2025. The information comes from an investor note by Ming-Chi Kuo, who has also added a new tidbit of information that we had not heard before: Apple will launch AR contacts lens between 2030-2040.
Apple’s VR/AR headset on track for 2022
Kuo’s note says that Apple’s VR/AR headset will use Sony’s micro-OLED displays and will work without connecting to an iPhone, thanks to its own storage and processing hardware. This is similar to how Oculus Quest 2 currently works. Kuo also says that current prototypes weigh between 200 grams and 300 grams, and the company is aiming to reduce it to 100 to 200 grams. To put things into perspective, Oculus Quest 2 weighs in at 500 grams.
Although Apple has been focusing on AR, we think the hardware specifications of this product can provide an immersive experience that is significantly better than existing VR products. We believe that Apple may highly integrate this helmet with video-related applications (e.g., Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, etc.) asone of the key selling points.
Kuo also mentions that the Apple VR/AR headset will b powerful thanks to the company’s custom silicon, and will cost around $1,000. This is going to put it out of the range of many customers and might not be the best way for Apple to introduce a new product. On the other hand, Oculus Quest 2 costs just $299 USD.
Bloomberg had also previously reported that Apple’s VR/AR headset will launch in 2022.
AR Glasses in 2025
Apple’s AR glasses are perhaps the actual new product that everyone is looking into, as nobody has been able to create a viable product yet in this category. Google Glass was an attempt but it never took off and the company restricted it to just enterprise customers only with niche use cases.
Apple is working on its own AR glasses and has most of the building blocks in place thanks to augmented reality in iPhone, and wearable technology like Apple Watch. Kuo says that Apple’s AR glasses might have independent processing chip and storage, and will feature a custom “optical see-through AR experience”, which will put the digital world in your real-world view.
Kuo says that Apple has not even begun prototype production, which means that it is far too early to rely on any rumors regarding its launch date or pricing. His note says that Apple will commence production for both its AR glasses and VR/AR headset in parallel, to sell them at the same time, however, considering how different their expected launch timeframes are, it does not make much sense.
Apple’s AR contact lenses for “invisible computing”
Kuo also says that although there is no visibility in the launch schedule for Apple’s AR contact lenses, they will launch between 2030 – 2040. The company will be looking to move onto “invisible computing” with the product.
Usually, it is too far off in the future to make predictions regarding products like AR contact lens in the next decade. Therefore, we would not think too much into it, as technology could change considerably by then, or might still not be at a stage where such a product is possible. However, the VR/AR headset could be the biggest product launch by Apple since Apple Watch, as it could get a lot more developers on board, and provide some competition to Facebook’s Oculus Quest 2, which does not have any real alternative in the market right now.
AR glasses remind us of Google Glass, and might be the first realization of the concept that Google never launched as a consumer product.
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