The iPhone 13, Apple Watch 7, AirPods 3, and updated MacBook Pro laptops powered by the new M1 Pro and M1 Max Apple silicon chips are just some of the many products Apple will launch in 2021. But, like other long-rumored goodies, Apple's augmented or virtual reality headsets aren't there yet. Yet 2022 could be that year. Thanks to a whole new metaverse craze sparked by Facebook's name change to Meta, Apple's headphones could come just as the space heats up.
According to a January report by Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, Apple could combine AR and VR shortly and introduce a high-end AR/VR headset similar to the Advanced Quest 2. Gurman's most recent report shows that the company is focusing on games, media, and communications. It can be expensive, possibly $3,000 or more, has an 8K display, eye-tracking, and camera that scans the world and fuses AR and VR, according to a report from The Information earlier this year.
In November, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted that Apple's VR/AR headset would launch in the fourth quarter of 2022, supporting Wi-Fi 6 and 6E. Another recent report, published by ð “¹ last December, suggests the phone is relatively light, weighing in at about 300-400 grams (about 10.5-14 ounces)This is lighter than Oculus (Meta) Quest 2.
The headphones are expected to run on Apple's M1 processor and operate as a standalone device. But it can also connect to other Apple devices. This is not surprising. Most of the reports about Apple's headphones seem to be moving in the same direction as VR: lighter weight, with mixed reality added through a more advanced pass-through camera. In that sense, Apple's first headset could be a stepping stone to lighter AR glasses in the future, just as Meta's next headset, called Project Cambria, could be used.
Last year, reports about Apple's AR/VR roadmap suggested that there was a split within Apple, or that the two sides' strategies might mean introducing VR headsets first, followed by more general-looking AR smart glasses. But recent reports seem to be all about one particular type of advanced VR product leading the pack.
These reports have been circulating for years, including one by CNET's Sarah Tibken in 2018. But the question is: when exactly will that happen? 2022 or later? Apple has been building more advanced AR tools into iPhones and pads, laying the groundwork for future growth. But we still don't know what that thing (or thing) is. It's becoming increasingly clear that other AR/VR sectors are also facing a slower path to AR eyewear than expected.
While Apple's augmented reality ambitions have been on full display with iPhones and pads for years, the company hasn't used any headphones. Every year, Apple has made significant strides on iOS with AR tools. People have been talking about when this hardware will come: next year, the year after that, and beyond. Or whether Apple is using glasses alone or mixed reality VR/AR headsets.