Apple Glasses Set for Early 2020 Launch (Report)

An AR glasses concept by 3D artist Martin Hajek
(Image credit: idropnews/Martin Hajek)

A reliable source of information claims that Apple is allegedly starting production of its Project StartBoard augmented reality glasses later this year, and will launch the device in the second quarter of 2020.

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo — who is almost always spot on with his predictions — has confirmed this on a report to his clients at TF International Securities. Kuo goes as far as to name the provider of the device’s chassis — Chinese firm Changying Precision.

Kuo has been predicting the arrival of the glasses in 2020 for a while now, citing sources inside Apple’s supply chain. In that report, which was echoed by Bloomberg, Kuo said that the glasses won’t have their own graphics processor or CPU, rather relaying on a connected iPhone to drive the AR experience. 

Apple’s AR glasses will only carry a display, camera sensors, and wireless connectivity electronics, making them lighter and less battery hungry than Hololens 2 and other AR glasses. Also, the glasses will reportedly be less expensive than the competition. Kuo has again reiterated these details in his new report.

Evidence of Apple AR glasses piles up

Earlier this year, we speculated that Apple was officially set on designing AR glasses last year when the company acquired Akonia Holographics, a Colorado-based startup with over 200 patents to make “thin, transparent smart glass lenses that display vibrant, full-color, wide field-of-view images.” 

That purchase was the last of a long line of AR-related acquisitions that have been laying the groundwork to make the AR glasses happen. And we already know that CEO Tim Cook believes that AR will be huge and that he’s alluded to several AR projects down Apple’s pipeline.

However, Digitimes then claimed that the Cupertino company had shelved the device, citing that the technology wasn’t really at the level that Apple wanted it to be. Particularly worrying is the fact that there are no known technologies with a field of view big enough to actually provide the illusion of true CGI-reality integration that augmented reality needs. Even the best headsets in the market limit the view to a window so, when the object exits that window it gets artificially cut rather than naturally leaving your field of vision. 

An Apple AR Glasses concept by artist Martin Hajek

An Apple AR Glasses concept by artist Martin Hajek (Image credit: idropnews/Martin Hajek)

But in September, new evidence of the glasses appeared in the beta version of iOS 13, which may be indicative of an incoming launch. Developers first found references to the new AR framework and a device codenamed Garta, which could be the glasses. Then, a few days later, the full StarBoard system shell — the software architecture that will support the glasses — as well as a full read me was discovered in the final version of iOS 13.

Knowing the constant leaks for all Apple devices, if this device is reaching manufacturing in the coming weeks, we will for sure learn more about it very soon.

Jesus Diaz

Jesus Diaz founded the new Sploid for Gawker Media after seven years working at Gizmodo, where he helmed the lost-in-a-bar iPhone 4 story and wrote old angry man rants, among other things. He's a creative director, screenwriter, and producer at The Magic Sauce, and currently writes for Fast Company and Tom's Guide.