Despite earlier reports from reliable TFI International analyst Ming-Chi Kuo and Bloomberg's Mark Gurman stating that Apple's AR glasses could be unveiled early next year, fresh news published by The Information (via The Verge) suggests that we are in for a longer wait. In fact, the new report claims that Apple will be producing two different devices, a mixed reality headset that will be released in 2022 followed a year later by the smaller AR-based Apple Glasses. The Information says that its knowledge of the timeline comes from sources who attended an internal presentation made at Apple's headquarters in Cupertino last month. The report also notes that Apple employees were told during the presentation that Apple will start talking with developers about software for the 2022 mixed reality headset starting in 2021.
The report states that the mixed reality headset carries a codename of N301 and looks like a slimmer version of the Oculus Quest VR headset released earlier this year, Apple's device will feature both AR and VR capabilities using cameras to provide a real-world view for the former. The headset will be able to combine the two realities to put virtual objects smack dab in the middle of a real-world background. And users will get to view all this through a high-definition display.
Will Apple Glasses require a nearby iPhone or will it be a standalone device
that they will be bigger than the iPhone. This pronouncement made by Gene Munster might not be as far-fetched as it sounds. The report notes that even Apple management expects the glasses to replace the iPhone although it will take about a decade to do so. Apple Glasses are smaller than the mixed reality headset and are designed to be worn for longer periods of time. Someone who has seen the current prototype says it resembles a pair of "high-priced sunglasses" that come with thick frames to house the batteries and chips. Again, if this report is legit, we won't see this device until 2023.So what about the heralded Apple Glasses? We've heard so much about this device for a few years now with one analyst famously predicting in 2017
Apple CEO Tim Cook has been known to have a fascination with AR and back in 2016 he said that while both augmented reality and virtual reality are interesting, "augmented reality is the larger of the two, probably by far." The executive said back in March that Apple is working on new products that will "blow you away," and we would assume that Apple's AR headset and glasses are both included in the exciting new products that Cook was talking about.
As recently as September, code discovered in iOS 13 pointed to a codename of T288 for the Apple Glasses, confirming a leak we previously passed along a couple of years ago. The prototype is allegedly known as "Garta." The hidden information also referred to an app known as "STARTester" that will show on the display of an iPhone, what the Apple Glasses user is seeing through his lenses. Apple has reportedly developed a new reality operating system (rOS) for the AR glasses which are expected to be powered by a 5nm Apple-designed chipset.
One major question is whether Apple Glasses will require a nearby iPhone to process some of the features of the device. Kuo, who has an enviable track record when it comes to making forecasts about unannounced Apple products, belongs to the camp that says that Apple Glasses will require an iPhone connection. However, the prototype, as we mentioned earlier, is said to have thick frames to house some of the chips and batteries so there is a possibility that it will be a standalone product. If today's report is correct, we might not know the answer to this question for more than three years.