Kuo: Apple Aiming to Keep Mixed Reality Headset's Weight Under 150 Grams

Apple is planning to adopt a hybrid Fresnel lens design for its mixed reality headset, a move that will improve optical performance while allowing for a broad field of view and keeping the headset's weight under 150 grams (a third of a pound), according to a new report from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo seen by MacRumors.

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Kuo notes that most virtual reality headsets use Fresnel lenses, first invented some 200 years ago to focus lighthouse beams, to enable ultra-short focal lengths, but that these headsets typically weigh 300–400 grams or more with bulky form factors.

Mixed-reality headsets like the one Apple is rumored to be developing for a launch next year can get away with thinner and lighter designs, as the lenses can be simpler with a smaller field of view (FOV) due to the less immersive experience compared to true virtual reality.

Balancing these requirements of field of view, form factor, and weight is "one of the critical design issues" in the complicated optical design of these headsets.

Kuo says that Apple is aiming to use a hybrid Fresnel lens composed of three stacked Fresnel lenses to achieve a thin and light design with enhanced optical performance. With each headset using a total of six Fresnel lenses (one stack of three per eye), Kuo says Apple will use lightweight plastic lenses with customized materials and coatings to match the light transmission of glass.

The purpose of this design is to improve FOV and reduce weight and thickness. We believe that Apple will use a hybrid Fresnel lens design further to enhance the Fresnel lens's optical performance (e.g., improve vignetting and optical artifacts), and each hybrid Fresnel lens comprises three stacked Fresnel lenses.

We believe that Apple's design will achieve a better balance between HMD’s FOV and form factor.

The lightweight lenses are said to be primarily supplied by Young Optics with Genius Electronic Optical also pitching in, but they won't come cheaply and will contribute to a high overall price for the headset that some rumors have pegged as in the $3,000 range.

Kuo and other sources have claimed that Apple has multiple mixed-reality products in its pipeline, starting with this initial headset rumored for a mid-2022 debut. A much smaller and lighter set of augmented reality glasses is rumored for around 2025.

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Top Rated Comments

code-m Avatar
43 months ago

Exactly this. Apple does not seem to be too concerned with things weighing your head down so why all of a sudden are they concerned with their 'mixed reality headset'? Kuo seems to be just grasping in the air recently and hoping something sticks. I know he has way more contacts than any of us do, but c'mon man.
Different muscle groups, while a headset like AirPods Max sit/rests on top of your head goggles are in front of your eyes straining other groups of muscles. Apple is maybe trying to minimize neck aches and permit prolong usage with minimal discomfort.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Yokon54 Avatar
43 months ago
That’s about 5 ounces for the rest of you.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
7thson Avatar
43 months ago
Sounds dubious. An iPhone 12 weighs 164 grams.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
shurcooL Avatar
43 months ago
How can we find this believable when AirPods Max are 384.8 grams?
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
iPadified Avatar
43 months ago
I wonder how they will deal with people usually wearing glasses? Contact lens requirements? Will not work for me.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
code-m Avatar
43 months ago

How can we find this believable when AirPods Max are 384.8 grams?
One has a heavy metal band resting on ones head the other will have AppleWatch type silicone straps/bands, quite possible to shave the weight.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)