Apple analyst suggests launch date for its rumored mixed-reality headset

Apple is reported to be eyeing mid-2022 for the launch of a mixed-reality (MR) headset, while its rumored augmented-reality (AR) glasses could get a release three years after that in 2025. And if you’re holding out for the smart contact lenses we heard about, be patient. They might not drop till 2030, or even 2040.

The update comes via TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo whose contacts in the industry have helped him to call it right with other Apple-related forecasts over the years.

“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,” Kuo wrote in a research note obtained by MacRumors, adding, “We foresee that the helmet product will provide AR and virtual reality (VR) experiences, while glasses and contact lens types of products are more likely to focus on AR applications.”

While Apple is keeping characteristically tight-lipped about the upcoming products, the 2022 date for the headset chimes with a recent Bloomberg report that cited people with knowledge of the matter.

According to Kuo, Apple’s design team is working on a number of prototypes for its MR headset, each one tipping the scales at between 200 and 300 grams. However, Apple is keen to get that down to between 100 grams and 200 grams, a weight that would make it considerably lighter than the 503 grams of Facebook’s recently released Oculus Quest 2 headset that some reports have suggested the Apple headset will resemble.

Rumored design specs for Apple’s first-ever MR headset include 8K displays, Apple Silicon processors similar to the M1 chip currently used in its MacBook range, up to a dozen cameras and lidar sensors for hand tracking and eye tracking, and decent battery life.

As for pricing, Kuo said it’s likely to come in at around $1,000, a third of the price suggested in a recent report from The Information.

Kuo believes customers will be able to enjoy an “immersive experience that is significantly better than existing VR products,” adding, “We believe that Apple may highly integrate this helmet with video-related applications (e.g., Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, etc.) as one of the key selling points.”

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