Apple Planning to Replace the iPhone With AR Headset in 10 Years

Apple is planning to replace the iPhone with an augmented reality (AR) headset in 10 years, a process that is apparently due to start as soon as next year with the launch of a head-mounted device, according to a recent report.

apple view concept right cornerConcept render of Apple's rumored AR headset by Antonio De Rosa

In a note to investors seen by MacRumors, eminent analyst Ming-Chi Kuo explained that "Apple's goal is to replace the ‌iPhone‌ with AR in ten years."

This transition is set to start in late 2022 with the launch of Apple's first AR headset. The device will apparently be able to operate independently without needing to be tethered to a Mac or ‌iPhone‌, and Apple is intending it to support a "comprehensive range of applications" to kickstart the process of replacing the ‌iPhone‌.

As well as AR, the headset will be able to support virtual reality (VR) experiences thanks to a pair of 4K Micro OLED displays from Sony, which require the computing horsepower of an M1-like chip.

Apple's AR headset requires a separate processor as the computing power of the sensor is significantly higher than that of the iPhone. For example, the AR headset requires at least 6-8 optical modules to simultaneously provide continuous video see-through AR services to users. In comparison, an iPhone requires up to 3 optical modules running simultaneously and does not require continuous computing.

In terms of hardware, the headset will reportedly feature two processors to support its high-end capabilities. The main processor will be a powerful SoC similar to the M1 chip Apple introduced in its wave of Apple silicon Macs last year, while a lower-end processor will manage the device's sensors.

We predict that Apple's AR headset to be launched in 4Q22 will be equipped with two processors. The higher-end processor will have similar computing power as the M1 for Mac, whereas the lower-end processor will be in charge of sensor-related computing.

The power management unit (PMU) design of the high-end processor is similar to that of M1 because it has the same level of computing power as M1.

With the headset now "approaching liftoff," according to Morgan Stanley analysts, Kuo said that Apple's AR headset will begin mass production in the second quarter of 2022 and launch in the fourth quarter of 2022.

For more information about Apple's rumored AR headset, see our detailed roundup that outlines everything rumors and leaks say we can expect.

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