While the rumblings over Apple’s planned venture into augmented reality, virtual reality and mixed reality have been getting louder recently, we now have a series of dates for these devices by prognosticator Ming Chi-Kuo, a good source with a reliable track record on all things Apple.
In a research note with TF International Securities obtained by MacRumors, Kuo stated that Apple will release an MR helmet type product by 2022, an AR glasses type product by 2025 and an AR contact lens type product by 2030-2040. The Apple prognosticator didn’t have a lot to say about the Apple contact lenses, stating that the lenses will bring electronics from the era of “visible computing” to “invisible computing.” He added that there is “no visibility” for the product as of now.
“We predict that Apple’s MR/AR product roadmap includes three phases: helmet type by 2022, glasses type by 2025, and contact lens type by 2030–2040,” Kuo wrote, per MacRumors. “We foresee that the helmet product will provide AR and VR experiences, while glasses and contact lens types of products are more likely to focus on AR applications.”
When it comes to Apple’s MR headset, though, Kuo had a lot more to say. In terms of size, the analyst stated that several prototypes of Apple’s mixed reality headset weighed between 0.4-0.6 pounds (200 to 300 grams). However, Apple’s apparent goal is to reduce the weight to between 0.2-0.4 pounds (100-200 grams), which would make the company’s headset a lot lighter than many existing devices.
It will also be portable, Kuo stated in the report, and have independent computing power and storage. Nonetheless, this doesn’t mean that it will be truly “mobile,” like an iPhone, at least at first. Kuo stated that he expects the new helmet to improve its mobility as technology improves.
The analyst also added weight to the rumor that Apple’s headset will be equipped with sophisticated micro OLED displays. The company is working with Sony on this, he said, which is in contrast to previous reports that stated Apple was working with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. With the micro OLED displays and several optical modules, the headset will be able to provide a “see-through AR experience,” as well as a VR experience.
Now here’s the thing, why should you buy Apple’s MR headset when there are a lot less expensive options to choose from?
“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.) as one of the key selling points,” Kuo wrote.
He stated that Apple’s mixed reality headset is expected to cost around $1,000 in the U.S.
As far as Apple’s AR glasses go, which are expected to provide an “optical see-through AR experience,” the Apple prognosticator expects a 2025 launch at the earliest. We’ll see if that pans out, as Kuo said he doesn’t think there’s a prototype for this product yet.
All in all, those are some exciting predictions from Kuo. Now let’s remember, although he is a noteworthy source, not everything he predicts comes true. If it is true, though, these Apple devices could change the game for AR and VR if they’re good.