Apple is aiming to release an augmented-reality headset in 2022 and a sleeker pair of AR glasses by 2023…
There have been a number of rumours around Apple entering the augmented reality (AR) market recently. Many have pointed to a late 2020 release and a potential partnership with Valve, but Silicon Valley insiders The Information (subscription required) have a far more in-depth take on the company’s “real” AR plans.
Reportedly Apple has two products prototyped at the moment. A combination AR/VR product exists with roughly the same size and features as the recent Oculus Quest. Using external cameras it’s able to map your current surroundings and uses a single hi-res display that it blends with external input to create a virtually augmented world.
I can best think of this as a cheaper, consumer version of the Microsoft Hololens having a baby with the Oculus Quest. It’s due to arrive in 2022 with Apple reportedly going out to developers in 2021 with an SDK.
The second is a much smaller, slimmer version, more akin to what you’d expect from AR and refines the Google Glass concept. Supposedly similar to “high-priced” sunglasses the slimmed down version of their larger headset would release the year after in 2023, should all go well.
These are for my money where Apple stand to make a bigger impact. There are a handful of companies almost getting this right now and it’s only a matter of time before it’s miniaturised even further down into a contact lens. Amazon released (sort of) smart glasses, Focals by North took Google Glass and made them stylish and Intel had their own secret project doing the same.
Apple stand the best chance to crack this nut in the consumer space if only through popularity and FOMO. Just look at all us idiots wearing electric toothbrush heads in our ears because Apple say so.