Apple plans to release an AR headset in 2022 and a pair of AR glasses by 2023, according to The Information. This negates previous reports that Apple glasses would release in 2020.
The Information (opens in new tab) received intel on an internal presentation given to employees at the company’s headquarters last month. People who attended said Apple Vice President Mike Rockwell divulged details about the design and features of the AR Apple headset and AR Apple glasses. This news sheds light on why Apple listed several AR/VR jobs on its hiring website in August.
Apple’s AR headset will reportedly offer both AR and VR capabilities, meaning it can entirely immerse wearers in a rendered world like Facebook’s Oculus headsets and also display digital designs without concealing their physical environments.
The headset will feature a high-resolution display that can place digital imagery in front of and behind humans, according to The Information's report. Executives said the headset’s technology will be able to map spaces and physical objects more accurately than the current AR devices available.
As part of the presentation, The Information says executives demonstrated a clip showing a virtual coffee machine positioned on a real table in a room filled with people. The digital device obscured the people behind it, highlighting the depth capabilities of the upcoming headset.
Rumors of Apple glasses have circulated for some time now, but we previously believed such a device would become available next year. Apple has created a trail of AR-related purchases, from Akonia Holgraphics’ AR displays to the Metaio’s Augmented Reality software development kit. It has also applied for a number of AR glasses patents, one of which lets others know when the wearer is distracted by something they are seeing through the lenses.
According to The Information’s source, some Apple senior managers believe that future versions of AR Apple glasses could replace the need for iPhones in about 10 years.
While we can imagine that Apple’s AR headset will look similar to existing VR headsets, there’s little known about the Apple glasses’ design. We can expect one thing, though: these things will be much lighter than today's VR headsets, which could pose greater engineering challenges and explain the 2023 release.