- Apple's mixed reality headset may be a reality in the year 2022.
- Apple is said to be working on AR glasses and contact lenses.
- The mixed reality headset is said to use 8K displays from Sony.
Apple may introduce its mixed-reality headset sometime towards the middle of 2022, the prolific analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has predicted in his latest note for TF International Securities. In addition to this crucial information, Kuo has even said that Apple's augmented-reality glasses could arrive in 2025 and even the bizarre contact lens that the iPhone maker may bring to markets by 2030-2040. Apple has been long-rumoured to be working on at least two highly advanced wearables that will counter Google Glass with the help of futuristic AR and MR technologies.
In his note, Kuo wrote, "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 20302040. 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." Kuo's notes were obtained by MacRumours and besides the launch timeframes, they also talk about what these products would have as features.
The current prototypes of Apple's mixed reality helmet are all about 200-300 grams but Kuo has noted that this weight can be brought down to 100-200 grams if Apple manages to solve technical issues it is currently facing. And the final product would weigh several times less than many existing VR headsets do. Because of a complex design and top-end specifications, the Apple mixed-reality headset might retail at around $1,000 (roughly Rs 73,300) in the US, which is what Apple asks for the high-end iPhone model.
Kuo also noted that this mixed-reality headset will feature Micro-OLED displays from Sony and several other optical modules that will help offer a see-through AR experience along with VR-centric capabilities for users. This headset will work using a standalone computer and storage, which means the headset will not be required to be tethered to a phone device. But it will not be as portable as an iPhone, Kuo has noted. "When the technology improves, we believe that the new helmet product can also enhance its mobility," he was quoted as saying. The Apple mixed-reality headset has the potential to offer an "immersive experience that is significantly better than existing VR products."
The specifications and features depicted in the note by Kuo fall in line with previous rumours. A report by The Information previously suggested that the headset will feature over a dozen cameras meant for tracking hand movements. The cameras are said to relay the video of the real world using the visor of the headset and show it to the user. There could be two ultra-high-definition 8K displays on the headset, along with eye-tracking technology. "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," said Kuo in his note.
Besides the mixed-reality headset, Apple is said to launch the AR glasses sometime in 2025 but there are no prototypes of this product yet, according to Kuo. Apple's AR Glasses will offer an "optical see-through AR experience" and are likely to be ultra-portable much like an iPhone, unlike the mixed-reality headset. The mixed-reality headset will be more comprehensive in terms of virtual experience while the AR Glasses will "focus more on providing a 'mobile + VR' experience." And the Apple AR Glasses are going to be integrated with the Apple Car, which, Kuo previously said, is not going to materialise until 2025 or later.
Apple is also said to be working on contact lenses that, Kuo said, will make the transition from visible computing to invisible computing. No other information on these contact lenses was provided by Kuo in his note. Kuo has noted that Apple is committed to its MR/VR/AR technologies, which likely holds the future of the iPhone maker into space technologies. Kuo seems to have a "positive view" about it. The primary supply chain beneficiaries for the Apple mixed-reality headset are said to be Sony for Micro-OLED displays, Pegatron for EMS, and some other suppliers from the optical module industry.