According to a new report, Apple’s focus has shifted from lightweight glasses to a cheaper version of its forthcoming mixed-reality headset.
According to a new report, Apple’s long-awaited augmented reality (AR) glasses project has experienced yet another delay. As a result of what leaker-analyst Mark Gurman describes as “technical challenges,” the release of the glasses has been put on indefinite hold.
“Apple’s initial dream of offering lightweight AR glasses that people could wear all day appears to be many years away,” Gurman writes pessimistically for Bloomberg, “if it happens at all.”
It is important to note that this is only one of several so-called Reality products that Apple has reportedly been developing. A headset combining AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality), which is anticipated to have its launch event this spring, will almost certainly be the first to be announced publicly. According to rumors, this will cover the eyes entirely and use pass-through cameras to allow the user to “see” what’s in front of them on high-quality displays.
Apple had planned to release a lighter-weight device resembling a pair of glasses about a year after the release of this headset, but this plan has been scrapped.
Gurman asserts that this product’s issues are not unique to Apple. The concept of overlaying context-sensitive information and notifications on top of a real-world view is intended to facilitate the glasses’ integration into daily life, as opposed to a full headset’s greater immersion. However, previous attempts, such as Google Glass, have failed.
Technically, the glasses are significantly more difficult than the headset due to their stricter weight, bulk, and aesthetic requirements, as well as the expectation that they will be worn for longer periods. To achieve even two hours of battery life, which is significantly less than that of a smartphone, they will require a cumbersome battery that may need to be carried separately. There are also unanswered questions regarding processors, software, and manufacturing, according to Gurman, citing “people with knowledge of the discussions.”
Apple’s budget headset
Faced with these obstacles, Apple reportedly halted the glasses project and now plans to follow the initial headset with a mixed-reality device that is less expensive but conceptually similar. Gurman predicts this will arrive in 2024 or early 2025.
The company will reduce the price by utilizing iPhone-grade components as opposed to the Mac-grade chips that were anticipated for the original headset. Gurman hypothesizes that to compete with Meta’s mixed-reality headset, Apple will price the “budget” edition at approximately $1,500, while the initial device will cost approximately $3,000.
We also have potential names for the two devices. According to trademark filings, the “Reality Pro” and “Reality One” brand names could be applied to the premium and budget headset models, respectively. DigiTimes reports that Genius Electronic Optical will supply the “lens modules” for the new headset, with shipments beginning as early as February 2023 for the model rumored to ship this year.
Apple still intends to release a pair of augmented reality (AR) glasses in the future, according to Gurman, who acknowledges that the cancellation of the Apple Glass project will disappoint many. However, this appears to be a very remote possibility at present.
DigiTimes reports that the new headset’s “lens modules” will begin shipping next month.