Of all the big tech companies, Apple is perhaps the only one left without its own kind of virtual, augmented, or mixed reality headgear. Of course, it has also been rumored to be working on such devices for years now with almost no end in sight. The end might actually now be in sight if Ming-chi Kuo’s predictions are on the mark. If so, Apple will not just have one but actually three such products launching in the next 9 years, including its own AR contact lenses.
Kuo predicts that Apple will first launch a helmet-type mixed reality headset sometime in 2022. Although primarily a VR headset, a plethora of optical sensors will supposedly allow a “passthrough” view of the real world on the other side of the display. The final version of the product is expected to weigh around 100-200 grams, will have its own independent compute power, but will not exactly be “mobile”, according to the famed analyst.
2025 is when the long-rumored AR glasses are predicted to arrive. It will be more mobile and have an optical see-through experience but won’t exactly be as immersive as the mixed reality headset. What those AR experiences will be isn’t clear yet but Kuo hopes there will be some integration with the also long-rumored Apple Car.
Apple won’t be stopping there, though. By 2030, Kuo predicts that the company will kick off an era of “invisible computing” with augmented reality contact lenses. Naturally, these will have to be tethered to an iPhone but, other than a predicted launch year, the analyst wasn’t able to provide more details, saying that a prototype wasn’t even available yet.
It should be noted that these are really just predictions, not the usual forecasts based on supplier and industry sources. Of course, Apple’s AR glasses have been rumored for years and there is a growing number of leaks surrounding the MR headset, but those may still be pushed to later dates. They may be even scrapped if they don’t meet Apple’s high standards of quality, just like the AirPower wireless charging mat.