Apple may not begin production of its next AR / VR headset until the end of the fourth quarter of 2022, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in a note sent to investors. This would likely cause the device to launch in late 2022 or early 2023.
Before launching the headset, Apple wants to have “full software, ecosystem, and services,” which Kuo cites as the reason Apple might consider delaying mass production from Q2 2022 to late 2022.
According to Kuo, Apple offers the “best industrial design solutions” for an AR / VR headset due to the complexity of the headset and the need for a comfortable fit. Kuo also believes Apple faces a bigger design challenge as the company wants to go beyond games with AR / VR software.
The AR / MR HMD has a lot more industrial design requirements than smartphones, as there are a lot of design details involved in the comfort of wearing them. Therefore, we believe Apple continues to test the best industrial design solutions to date.
The key to HMD’s success lies in the software, the ecosystem and the service. We believe Apple is positioning its HMD for various applications, not just gaming applications, so the challenge of building software / ecosystems / services is significantly higher than current products / competitors.
In general, Kuo expects headsets to lead to the “next wave of user interface revolution,” much like multi-touch on the iPhone. Apple will be able to change the market consensus that this type of AR / VR device is primarily for gaming, as the company “is the most capable of developing and promoting various applications.”
Kuo previously said the AR / VR headset would launch in Q2 2022, and before that, he believed the headset would release in 2021.
Rumors suggest that Apple’s AR / VR headset will be similar in design to the Oculus Quest, but with a sleeker look that uses lightweight fabrics and materials for a comfortable fit.
The headset is said to feature two high-resolution 8K displays that can be micro-OLEDs and a whole host of cameras for eye detection, head detection, and other augmented reality functions. The headset will depend on the iPhone and Apple would experiment with several input methods.
Apple is also working on a set of smart glasses, but smart glasses are expected to launch after the headset, which will be Apple’s first head-mounted AR / VR device. More details are available in our AR / VR summary.