TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Ku believes that Apple’s 2020 iPhone will ship alongside a pair of augmented reality glasses.
Rumours of Apple bringing augmented-reality glasses to market have been circulating for almost five years now, but they’ve mainly been speculating based on patents and Apple hiring up a lot of talent in the AR space.
Now prominent Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has said that he believes Cupertino will begin manufacturing head-mounted display as early as the end of 2019, and Apple will roll them out in 2020.
In a note to investors, Kuo says the first generation of the glasses will be marketed as an iPhone accessory — so think AirPods you put on your eyes and less a stand-alone system.
Designing the AR glasses to work as an iPhone accessory is also expected to allow Apple to keep the glasses slim and lightweight, rather than trying to pack in all the processing hardware into the one device.
It’s still unclear what you’ll be able to do with this mysterious headset. Kuo says that it’ll work more or less like an Apple Watch.
You won’t be, however, able to use the AR headset without an iPhone as it’ll rely heavily on your iPhone.
This means the headsets won’t have to be particular high-performance (ie., they won’t need to be packed full of processing power) allowing the AR goggles or glasses to be lightweight, making it possible for them to be worn for long periods of time.
Although it’s all speculation at the moment, it is likely Apple will reveal a form of AR headset after the company’s CEO Tim Cook suggested it would launch something based on the tech. He described AR as “profound” saying it “amplifies human performance instead of isolating humans”.
The company’s research into AR is a rather badly kept secret, with patents filed in the US.
Earlier in March, media had reported that the iPhone-maker published an update titled, “Systems, methods and graphical user interfaces for interacting with Augmented and Virtual Reality environments” as part of an existing patent filed in August 2018.
The patent hints at Apple’s plans of developing an AR-based headset that would work alongside an iPhone to enable users to experience an environment where computer images are overlaid on the real world.