Kuo: Apple's AR Headset to Launch in Second Quarter of 2020
Apple's augmented reality headset will enter mass production as soon as the fourth quarter of this year in time for an early 2020 launch, according to a new report out today from Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo and seen by MacRumors.
In his latest research note with TF International Securities, the analyst says Apple will cooperate with third-party brands to launch its first head-mounted AR product in 2020, with Changying Precision tipped to be the main chassis supplier.
A Kuo report in March claimed Apple would launch an AR product in 2020 that could be ready by the middle of next year. However, Kuo has brought forward his predicted time of release and the analyst now believes the launch window for the product will fall in the second quarter of 2020.
Back in July, a DigiTimes report claimed Apple had suspended its AR headset project, but just last month, code found in Xcode 11 and iOS 13 confirmed that Apple is still working on an augmented reality headset of some kind.
Within the internal Find My app bundle that MacRumors exclusively shared, there is also an icon depicting what appears to be an AR or VR headset that looks similar to the Google Cardboard.
Kuo understands that Apple's AR glasses will be marketed as an iPhone accessory and primarily take a display role while wirelessly offloading computing, networking, and positioning to the iPhone.
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.
As early as November 2017, Bloomberg reported that Apple was developing an AR headset. Apple originally aimed to have it ready by 2019, but the company was relaxed about not shipping a product until 2020. The report said the headset would run on a new custom operating system, based on iOS, and dubbed "rOS" for "reality operating system."
In addition, today's report underlines Kuo's previous prediction that the most important change to the Apple chassis industry chain in 2020 will be the upgrade of the 5G iPhone's metal mid-frame/chassis.
For Apple's 2020 iPhones, Kuo believes the company will adopt a new metal frame structure reminiscent of the iPhone 4, which will significantly increase the unit cost due to the increase in processing procedures and the integration of composite materials.
Today's report from the respected Apple analyst also covered Apple's iPad Pro and MacBook plans for 2020, which we've covered in a separate article.
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Same goes for iPod and iPad from the Jobs era. All duds according to Mac Rumors readers.
The glasses will have a similar use case: Smartphone and "normal" monitors are widely available, but the glasses will be able to provide a way more comfortable user experience.
* Want a monitor with 2-3 meters diagonal, freely positionable without taking up physical space? Here you are!
* Want to get routing guidance directly in your field of view and additional info about that building/car/person/object over there? Here you are!
* Want to support your aging eyes with variable focus on objects of interest (a.k.a. "Zoom")? Sure - here you are!
* Want to have sunglasses with adjustable dimming levels? Well - here you are!
Vehicle highlighting in traffic (battery-electric vehicles can be dangerous for hearing-impaired persons), reduced neck strain (-> "Smombies"), hands-free video while commuting in overcrowded subways, privacy (no one can look onto your mobile phone screen anymore), individual TV programs for each family member at home without arguing about which program to watch ... - the options are endless!
If Apple does it right, they have a big, big winner on their hands! At first people will complain "I don't wear glasses and don't want to change that now" - just as people complained about wearing a watch when AppleWatch entered the market. And they will complain about the price for "just another iPhone accessory" that can't work standalone and is much more expensive than your standard glasses from the local superstore around the corner.
Eventually people will get used to it and it'll become a new trend to wear glasses again. (Very) longterm there may also be contact lenses becoming available for the die-hard refusers of glasses. And it'll be very interesting to see how the competition will react and offer cheaper, but potentially technically inferior and/or less refined products to participate from the new hype.
Imagine you are hiking and your glasses is constantly beaming directions to your face.
I can imagine a few.