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Here’s when Apple’s AR glasses could finally go on sale

Right now, almost all the chatter around Apple’s secret projects is focused on the company’s Reality Pro mixed-reality headset. But now one well-known analyst has issued a new report shining a light on Apple’s upcoming augmented reality (AR) glasses — and set out a projected release date for the hush-hush device.

The news comes from Apple guru Ming-Chi Kuo, who has a solid track record when it comes to leaks and predictions surrounding the Cupertino giant. According to Kuo, Apple’s AR glasses could launch in 2026 or 2027 at the earliest.

Apple iGlasses

That means they’re still some way out, and the Reality Pro headset is expected to launch much sooner (at this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference, by most estimations). So don’t expect to see them any time soon.

Still, it’s more encouraging than the news we received in January when journalist Mark Gurman claimed Apple had suspended its AR glasses project entirely. Gurman believed that the glasses were “many years away” from release — if they even saw the light of day at all.

Now, though, the project appears to be back on track. Either Apple has overcome the problems it faced earlier in the year, or someone’s source is mistaken.

A metalens ‘killer application’

iphone face id

Kuo’s report focuses on metalens, an emerging technology that uses nanostructures to focus light in a similar way that thicker curved lenses do at the moment. Kuo explains that Apple could start using metalens tech for iPad Face ID covers in 2024. After that, it could find its way into the iPhone’s Face ID cover in 2025 or 2026, with the latter date being more likely.

If all goes well, those adoptions would pave the way for Apple to use metalens tech in its Apple glasses project. But because that all hinges on how well metalens performs in Face ID, Apple might take a cautious approach with its AR glasses — which could push the launch window back.

In other words, the 2026 or 2027 dates for the glasses should be seen as the earliest time we could see the product. So in the end, perhaps Gurman and Kuo’s predictions have more in common than you would imagine: the glasses do appear to be “many years away” from hitting the shelves.

While that might be the case, Kuo believes the AR glasses will be the “killer application” for metalens tech. We’ll have to wait and see how well Apple’s glasses do — if they ever launch — but at least we now have a release window to keep an eye on.

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