The mixed reality headset that rumors have previously stated as in development is due for release by 2022, a new report states. Apple isn’t stopping there, however, as augmented reality glasses are set to launch by 2025 and contact lenses by the next decade.
In a research note with TF International Securities — a Hong Kong-based analyst firm that provides financial institutions with asset management services and advice — obtained by Macrumors, well-regarded analyst Ming-Chi Kuo writes that Apple’s mixed-reality/augmented reality roadmap prediction includes three phases: first a helmet-type headset by 2022, a glasses-style device by 2025, and a contact lens device between 2030 and 2040.
“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 writes.
Kuo also notes that the expected price for the headset will be $1000, one-third the price that was rumored in February. He also says that the current prototypes of the headset weigh somewhere between 200 and 300 grams, but Apple is trying to reduce that by 100 to 200 grams for the final design to make it much lighter than many existing VR/AR headsets on the market, hence the high price.
Kuo adds that it will be equipped with Sony’s micro-OLED displays and external optical modules to enable the augmented reality experience, but can also operate as a VR headset. This echoes the rumor published by The Intercept in February. It should be portable and have its own computing power and storage but isn’t designed to be a mobile device like an iPhone or iPad.
The reported glasses and contact lenses are part of the roadmap that Kuo predicts, but it’s unclear how the analyst is coming to those conclusions. The “Apple Glasses” would provide an “optical see-through AR experience” and would be positioned more like a mobile product, which is similar to the now-defunct Google Glass. The contact lenses report is part of Kuo’s far-future prediction and provided few details.
While the Google AR/VR headset has not been more than a few rumors, Kuo’s report, which is designed to inform investors, lends further credence to Apple’s foray into the field.