Apple to Release an AR Headset Next Year

Posted on March 8, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Apple, iOS, Mobile with 14 Comments

A new report from an analyst close to Apple claims that the consumer electronics giant will release an augmented reality (AR) headset in 2020. The headset will essentially be a remote display that relies on the iPhone for processing.

News of Apple’s long-rumored AR headset/glasses comes from Guo Minghao, an analyst at Tianfeng International Securities, who told investors in a note that the device would come to market as soon as the end of 2019 but more likely in the first half of 2020. The device will require an iPhone, a sharp change from the rumors of two years ago, when Apple was reportedly working on its own “reality operating system,” or rOS, and a custom processor/chipset for the device.

If Guo is correct, those plans have changed dramatically, and Apple’s first-ever AR headset—which may look more like glasses than a traditional AR or VR headset—will essentially only provide a remote display for an iPhone. Computing, networking, and indoor and outdoor positioning will all be handled by the iPhone, and connectivity between the two devices will be wireless. That means that Apple’s headset/glasses could be quite small and light.

As such, Apple’s entry into AR hardware will likely shake up the market quite a bit. Compared to current offerings like Microsoft’s HoloLens, the Apple Glasses (or whatever) will be aimed at consumers, not businesses, and will likely be considerably less expensive. It can also take advantage of the popularity and mobility of Apple’s iPhone, whereas Microsoft is forced to make a bulkier standalone headset that is relegated to confined, indoor use cases. In short, Apple is a huge threat to HoloLens.

And it’s been paving the way to this future for years. In addition to incorporating ARKit capabilities into iOS, a move that has unleashed a torrent of AR apps for iPhone and iPad, Apple is known to have filed for many patents related to AR hardware. One involves a method by which the Apple Glasses display can be overlaid on a car’s windshield, providing a dynamic heads-up display for the riders.

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Comments (14)

14 responses to “Apple to Release an AR Headset Next Year”

  1. Avatar

    chiwax

    According to MS and it's most vocal partners/customers, HoloLens is the solution that works best for them now. HoloLens isn't for consumers in any way and MS has made that perfectly clear. Yet a consumer focused Apple device that doesn't exist in public is a threat? I guess then the HoloLens' potential future ability to play games (or not) is a huge threat to the PlayStation? Watch your back Sony! ?

  2. Avatar

    Daekar

    Sounds like a sensible way to achieve consumer AR, especially if you're not going for huge immersion. Good thing that modern glasses styles tend toward the chunky and ugly, makes it easier for now...

  3. Avatar

    MikeGalos

    So if it only offers remote display of the iPhone apps and doesn't integrate them with the real world image it's really not Augmented Reality as much as just a Heads Up Display.

  4. Avatar

    dcdevito

    Another technology Microsoft will fail to capitalize on

  5. Avatar

    Sprtfan

    This sounds like a heads up display. It sounds cool and could be useful but also sounds very different than what HoloLens does.

  6. Avatar

    lvthunder

    They can't be too small. They still need a battery.

  7. Avatar

    Saxwulf

    "As such, Apple’s entry into AR hardware will likely shake up the market quite a bit. Compared to current offerings like Microsoft’s HoloLens, the Apple Glasses (or whatever) will be aimed at consumers, not businesses, and will likely be considerably less expensive. It can also take advantage of the popularity and mobility of Apple’s iPhone, whereas Microsoft is forced to make a bulkier standalone headset that is relegated to confined, indoor use cases. In short, Apple is a huge threat to HoloLens."


    You are joking, right?

  8. Avatar

    wp7mango

    Actually, Microsoft isn't forced to make a bulky standalone headset. It's already laying the foundations for Hololens as an open platform and there is no reason why it can't create a lightweight headset with remote processing using a device of your choice.


    In fact, Microsoft has already done the hard work from the technical perspective, such as field of view, object stability, eye tracking etc. Moving the processing to a phone, and removing features which not everyone might need such as hand tracking in order to make a range of lighter devices, means it could easily counter any threat from Apple.

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