Apple could release its long-awaited mixed-reality headset by "mid-2022", according to Ming-Chi Kuo. The well-known tech analyst also tips Apple to double down with a pair of augmented reality glasses by 2025.
In new research dug up by @MacRumors, Kuo says: "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."
The high-tech headgear, which adds a layer of computer graphics to the real world, is expected to hook up to Apple TV+ and Apple Arcade for an "immersive experience that is significantly better than existing VR products."
Kuo says Apple has several prototypes of the mixed reality helmet and that engineers aim to reduce the weight of the finished version to just 100g - 200g (significantly lighter than rivals such as Microsoft's 2019 Windows Mixed Reality headset, which weighs 528g).
Apple is yet to release any official sketches but designer Antonio DeRosa has imagined what the headset could look like in the slick render above. He even dubs the device "Apple View".
Meanwhile, tech news website The Information has weighed in with a sketch of its own (below) and suggested that the headset could take its cue from the Apple AirPods Max. There's also talk of the space-age visor featuring a dial on the side, which could be used to adjust the balance between the physical world and virtual content.
It's not the first time Kuo's leaked details of Apple's headset. Way back in October, he tipped it to feature a Sony MicroLED display and provide both a "see-through AR experience" and "a VR experience." He also revealed that the device would be "portable," with its own battery and processor, but not totally wireless.
More recently, The Information has weighed in with yet more juicy rumours. According to "a person with direct knowledge of the device", the headset will boast more than a dozen cameras for tracking hand movements, along with "ultra-high-resolution 8K displays and advanced technology for eye tracking."
But what of Apple's augmented reality glasses, due out in 2025? Kuo says there's "no prototype yet" and that "while the helmet provides a great immersive experience, the glasses focus more on providing a 'mobile + AR' experience." He even suggests they could integrate with the rumoured Apple Car, which is due to launch in 2028.
As for the Iron Man-style contact lenses, Kuo says the potential game-changers will launch after 2030 and mark Apple's transition from "visible computing" to "invisible computing."
Does it all sound a bit far-fetched? Perhaps. But Kuo insists that Apple is deadly serious about mixed reality and augmented reality technologies and has even discussed pricing. According to The Information Apple hopes to sell 250,000 units in the first year at around $3000 (£2200, AU$4000) each.
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