Apple plans to launch a flagship mixed reality headset later this year. However, the previously planned release of a companion product – the AR glasses – has been postponed indefinitely due to technical issues, and it’s not yet known when they will go on sale.
After Bloomberg Citing its own sources, the company originally hoped to release AR glasses after the debut of its AR/VR mixed reality headset, but now part of the plan has been literally “paused”. Instead of glasses, Apple is expected to debut a more budget-friendly version of the headset as early as 2024 or 2025 after debuting in 2023. If previous AR glasses were supposed to launch around a year after the headset, or even in 2023, the release was later pushed back to 2025 and then shelved altogether.
The change in plans is a nod to the challenges Apple faced trying to create a new product for a promising industry. It is possible that the market launch of lightweight eyewear will be delayed by many years. Originally, it was planned that AR glasses would become a product that could replace the iPhone – all sorts of information and content would be displayed on a transparent display. Such a device would allow you to receive incoming notifications, view maps and get recommendations from the navigator, make calls and take photos. However, the search for suitable materials and solutions has so far proved to be too great a challenge. Once failed a similar project Google Glass and the company Google.
Meanwhile, the plans for a mixed reality headset are quite feasible, and there is a necessary technological basis for this. Apple’s first model is expected to cost around $3,000 and will feature high-resolution displays, more than 10 cameras, sensors to track the user’s gaze, an M2 chipset similar to that used in the company’s laptops, and a dedicated chip for processing AR /VR content.
Apple plans to lower the price of its next mixed reality headset by using cheaper chips instead of the M2, likely the same ones used in the iPhone. The company wants to compete with the mixed reality headset Meta*which is now worth about $1.5 thousand.
Trademark filings are indicative of Apple’s dual strategy. The docs mention Reality Pro devices (probably the first, more expensive option) and Reality One, a budget model. Also, the Reality Processor trademark was registered, which is probably related to the chipset for future headsets.
Apple’s mixed reality headset will offer an immersive VR experience, and the cameras will offer a simulated AR experience, although transparent displays aren’t included. This is less difficult than building a pure augmented reality device that is structurally indistinguishable from traditional glasses.
Apple’s first headset is said to last about two hours on a single charge. For comparison: the charge of an average smartphone is enough for at least one day of active use.
Also, for the sake of compactness and the safety of the user, the battery is kept separately in a pocket, away from his head. The connection to the headset is established via a cable.
While most of Apple’s 1,000 AR and VR employees have been focused on developing these headsets, some teams are still working on glasses-like devices. However, some members of the Apple team generally doubt that such models will appear on store shelves, at least in the short term.
* It is included in the list of public associations and religious organizations for which the court made a final decision to liquidate or ban activities on the grounds provided for in Federal Law No. 114-FZ of July 25. 2002 “On Countering Extremist Activities”.