Although AR and VR devices have been on the market for almost a decade they have failed to meet expectations, but the technology has matured, and soon, Apple may walk in to capitalize with some Apple Glasses.
- Apple to announce a new product category in 2022.
- The new product category will concern mixed reality (AR) and virtual reality headsets (VR).
- The devices will probably be widely available at a later date, probably in 2023.
Apple has spent a few years working on strengthening its technology and products. This can be seen in the efforts to free itself from the shackles of third-party tech. First, it became independent from Intel, by scaling up its ARM architecture to make it capable of more demanding tasks and according to rumors, Qualcomm is next, with Apple beginning to design its own modem chips.
This has come to the expense of new products. Yes, we have seen major leaps in cameras, A.I. capabilities, and screens but we haven't really witnessed a new, ground-breaking product category from Apple since the Apple Watch. But as it seems, the Cupertino giant is done with sorting out his room and is ready to once again come out to the world with an earth-shattering "one more thing".
Apple Glasses: A careful leap forward?
According to a Bloomberg PowerOn newsletter, Apple is looking to announce a new product category in 2022. The product(s) will be a Reality headset of sorts, with a complex design that aims to create a wide platform for the company. Mark Gurman speculates that the company may "seek to work with governments globally on possible prescription lenses and partner with a bevy of manufacturers on complex technologies".
This comes after rumors from famous leaker Ming-Chi Kuo revealed more details about the headset. He predicts that the device will launch around Q4 of 2022 and take advantage of all the innovations Apple has made over the past few years.
The main issues that slowed down the "virtual reality revolution" concern processing power, connectivity speed, and screen technology. Now, looking back at Apple's efforts it seems like they may have the ingredients for a successful AR or VR headset.
Unlike Google, which in retrospect has rushed the release of Google Glass, Apple seems to have taken the safe route. The new ARM chips are more powerful than ever, with low heat output and a small form factor, and rumors have it that Apple will be investing in the new Wi-Fi 6E standard, something that probably has to do with them designing their own modem chips.
Ming-Chi Kuo expects that the upcoming device(s) will come with a computer level SoC, that it will work independently from a Mac or an iPhone, and that it will feature a large set of applications and its own ecosystem. Gurman also speculated in the past that the headset will be capable of both virtual and alternate reality features, but we may initially see two products, one covering only AR and one that covers both VR and AR features.
How much will the Apple Glass cost?
It is too soon to say. But as Gurman reports the new products will be expensive. Bringing such a complex design to the market, that requires top-of-the-line tech is not a cheap endeavor. Looking at the price tags of other VR headsets from the competition may give us an idea.
The Oculus Quest 2 retails for $300 while the basic model of HTC Vive starts at $750 and Google AR glasses begin from $999.99. So it becomes obvious that the first iteration of Apple's Glass will be far from a price tag that will attract the masses. Yet the competition with rival Meta (former Facebook) that owns Occulus is on, and since Apple is one step behind we would expect the company to push prices down.
What do you think? Will mixed reality headsets make a breakthrough in the near future? Let me know in the comments.