Apple’s first-gen augmented (AR) glasses aren’t coming anytime soon. They’re not to be confused with the mixed reality (MR) headset that’s supposedly going to be unveiled early next year ahead of its June 2023 release. The MR device will also support AR experiences. But the headset will look more like a regular virtual reality (VR) device. VR content might also play a more significant role in the overall experience.
The Apple AR glasses will focus only on augmented reality, and they’ll supposedly have a design similar to prescription eyewear. And now, a new report claims that Apple’s first-gen AR glasses are currently in the design development stage ahead of a 2024 launch.
What is Apple’s mixed reality headset?
Mixed reality describes experiences that involve AR and VR content, and that’s Apple’s primary focus right now. Various reports have claimed that Apple’s first MR headset will be rather bulky, just like other VR headsets from competitors.
The device will focus on media content, gaming, and communication, featuring powerful hardware. The MR device will supposedly feature an M-series chip that can power a MacBook. It may also pack high-resolution displays that beam content into the retina, with several sensors and cameras that point inwards and outwards.
Unlike other AR and VR devices, Apple’s mixed reality glasses will not require a wired connection to a computer. But the mixed reality device will likely not offer mobile experiences. You’ll have to use the device at home or in your office rather than out and about.
The Apple AR glasses, on the other hand, should be more elegant. Reports say Apple wants to make AR glasses that look just like traditional glasses. They’ll connect directly to the iPhone to offer augmented reality experiences. But they won’t support the immersive virtual reality features that will be available on the MR headset.
When will the Apple AR glasses launch?
The most recent rumors say that Apple plans to introduce its mixed reality device early next year. Sales should start during the June 2023 quarter.
Then, Apple’s AR glasses will get a 2025 launch, according to reports. And that assumes Apple can stick to its schedule. Various reports also noted that Apple had to postpone the MR headset’s launch as it dealt with multiple issues during development.
The good news seems to be that the AR glasses have entered the design development stage at Apple. That’s according to a note from Haitong Intl Tech Research analyst Jeff Pu.
Apple will supposedly have an AR glasses prototype ready by the end of the year, with mass production to start in the second half of 2024.
“We expect it to adopt waveguide technology, and Corning (GLW) and Hoya (7741 JP) are sampling the glass. We expect Lante to benefit from the partnership with Corning,” Pu said, focusing on the various suppliers that might win new contracts from Apple.
Whether or not Pu’s information is accurate, we’re not likely to see any confirmation from Apple regarding launch plans for its AR glasses. The company didn’t even unveil new AR features at WWDC 2022 earlier this month. However, various software ideas presented at the event would benefit from devices running Apple’s rumored realityOS operating system. That’s the OS that will reportedly power the MR and AR glasses.
The AR glasses might be Apple’s most important product since the iPhone. Augmented reality gadgets might replace the need for smartphones in the future. While it won’t happen with first-gen devices, Apple certainly seems to be interested in having its own AR glasses in stores as soon as possible.
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