If Apple’s rumored $3,000 virtual reality headset seems like a financial nightmare for you, then get ready for some potentially good news. Analyst and reliable Apple sage Ming-Chi Kuo claims the company is already working on a second-generation AR/VR headset set for a 2025 release, this time featuring both a high-end and a more affordable option. Kuo didn’t provide specific price points, though, so it’s hard to say just how budget friendly that affordable option really is.
Writing in his Medium blog Sunday, Kuo said the predicted second-generation model will launch in the first half of 2025, with component suppliers expected to begin shipping in the second half of 2024. If true, Kuo’s prediction marks one of the first solid estimates on when Apple’s V2 headset model could arrive, though all that should be taken with a grain of salt considering Apple’s first-generation headset (which “officially” still doesn’t even exist) was reportedly postponed for several months and has yet to release. Kuo himself previously said Apple likely won’t publicly announce its first headset until January 2023. That “announcement” would mark an end to possibly the world’s worst kept secret.
Kuo provides some more general details about Apple’s overall headset plans in his blog, as well. According to him, high ASP Pancake lenses often found in SLR cameras are a critical complement of the headsets, affecting both form factor and visuals. The firms Genius and Young Optics are the expected suppliers for those Pancake lenses and are both expected to be involved in the second generation model’s supply chain as well. Kuo predicts Apple’s AR/VR shipments could reach an impressive 10 million as early as 2025.
This isn’t the first bit of spec news related to a potential second-generation Apple headset. Last month, a report from The Elec claimed LG Display will reportedly attempt to supply the micro OLED panels for that model. Sony’s supposedly supplying the main micro OLED panels for the first model.
If Apple does put its headsets on store shelves in the coming years, they appear likely to, like so many other new Apple products, come at precisely the right time. A recent IDC report released last month found global VR headset shipments increased a staggering 241.6% year over year in the first quarter of 2022. That market was unsurprisingly dominated by Meta, whose Quest 2 headset helped the company secure 90% market share in the space. With most other major VR hardware movers abandoning the consumer market for enterprise customers, Apple stands poised to enter a growing scene as one of the only true competitors to Meta. A more affordable second-generation model could see them loosen Meta’s stranglehold even more.
“All eyes will be on Apple as it launches its first headset next year,” IDC Research Director Ramon Llamas wrote. “Further iterations will likely show evolution that will grow by leaps and bounds.”