A mixed-reality headset might be Apple’s next big device, and it’s reportedly coming as early as 2022. In a note to investors on Sunday, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said the Cupertino company is gearing up to launch a headset for augmented and virtual reality next year. The headset will reportedly retail for $1000 in the US.
The headset would use Sony’s Micro-OLED displays and improved optical modules to provide an “immersive experience that is significantly better than existing VR products.” Prototypes of the headset currently weigh between 200 and 300 grams, but the aim is to reduce the weight by 100 to 200 grams, 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 2030–2040,” Kuo wrote in the note, seen by 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.”
Kou isn’t the first one to predict that Apple is heavily investing in the AR/VR space. According to CNET, Apple is working on a powerful headset that would support augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies, featuring an 8K display higher resolution for each eye, as well as its own processor to process VR and AR images. Experts say the arrival of Apple’s AR/VR headset could be the beginning of a major shift for the technology industry, which is heavily dependent on smartphones.
The industry is looking beyond smartphones, and Apple’s growing interest in the AR/VR segment hints at what’s next to come. Kuo predicts Apple would release AR glasses in 2025, and apparently, the prototype is not ready. Kuo also said that Apple would release contact lenses with AR capabilities sometime at 2030, with a clear focus on “invisible computing.”
But Apple’s not the only tech major working on AR/VR glasses. All major players, including Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft, are closing watching this space. Facebook’s first pair of “smart glasses” is expected to be released this year as a branded Ray-Ban product.