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“Apple Reality” headset rumours update

Hot on the heels of our Future titans of the Metaverse post dedicated to Apple comes updates relating to Apple’s rumoured augmented reality (AR) / virtual reality (VR) headset. These updates come from Ming-Chi Kuo, a respected and reliable market analyst who gathers Apple intelligence from Asian supply chain contacts. Considered by many to be one of the best Apple analysts on the planet, Kuo has shared several updates on a potential Apple AR/VR headset over the past few years.


In previous updates, Kuo has announced that Apple will unveil their first AR/VR headset sometime in January 2023, with a subsequent release date later in the year. According to Kuo, Apple will hold reveal the product at the January event with tools for developers shipping two to four weeks after. Pre-orders for the headset will start in the second quarter of 2023 with customers able to purchase the headset before Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in 2023 (this year’s WWDC was held between the 6th and 10th of June). Kuo has previously pitched a $3,000 price tag for Apple’s first AR/VR headset, which is on par with the $3,400 cost of the Varjo VR-3, currently billed as the world’s most advanced professional VR headset. We made a similar comparison in a previous post back in May.


Writing on his Medium blog this week, Kuo has announced that Apple is already talking to suppliers about a second generation of its AR/VR headset. Interestingly, Kuo describes the headset as an AR/MR, or augmented reality / mixed reality (MR) headset. In themetabite.com’s post back in May, we went for a combined AR/VR device because it provides an additional sales channel for existing and new AR content (Apple has the world’s largest AR platform in the form of the App Store).


Other key takeaway is the use of aspherical pancake lens technology to enhance visuals and reduce the size and weight of the headset. In themetabite.com’s post back in May, we speculated about the look and capability of an Apple headset, noting that Apple would be likely competing with Meta’s upcoming Project Cambria headset, the successor to its current of Quest 2 headset expected sometime this year. We guessed then that this would mean the use of pancake optic technology, which allows for a more compact, less bulky, and more comfortable headset and which aligns with Apple’s design aesthetic. Kuo names pancake lens supplier suppliers as Genius, Young Optics, and Largan, and pancake lens lamination supplier as GIS.


Kuo anticipates both high-end and more-affordable models, which matches Meta’s Quest 2 / Project Cambria roster. Kuo expects suppliers expected to start shipping components sometime in the second half of 2024 and an anticipated launch date sometime in the first half of 2025. Shipments are expected to reach 10 million units in 2025/2026, which is presumably based on Meta’s Quest 2 figures of 8.7 million units sold in 2021.


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