Apple plans to replace iPhones with AR, will launch first AR headset in 2022: Ming-Chi Kuo

Can Apple's AR headset replace iPhones?

Highlights
  • Apple expected to unveil its first AR headset in Q4 2022.
  • The AR headset will come with two chips, one of them said to be as powerful as the M1.
  • The AR headset will be a standalone product instead of being an iPhone-linked accessory.

For almost the last two years, we’ve been hearing rumours about Apple’s AR headset. Cupertino giant’s plans about an AR headset first came to light when a patent was spotted in February 2018. Then, next year Apple filed another patent for an AR/VR headset, and later that year, hints of Apple testing AR headset were found in the internal build of iOS 13. In 2019, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggested that the Cupertino giant launch the AR headset in the second quarter of 2020. Cut to 2021, Apple hasn’t launched any AR/VR headset, but there’s a new research note from Kuo suggesting that the much-awaited Apple AR headset might see the light of day in 2022.

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Apple AR headset launching in Q4 2022

According to the research note from the Apple analyst, as seen by MacRumors and 9to5Mac, the Cupertino giant would release its first-ever AR headset in the fourth quarter of 2022. The new note from Kuo reiterates his earlier prediction about the Apple AR headset’s launch. However, we have a more accurate timeline and technical details about the upcoming AR headset this time around.

Apple AR Headset Mockup

As per Kuo, the AR headset will be powered by two chipsets. One of them is said to be as powerful as the M1 chip that powered the MacBooks from 2020, and the second one will be a lower-end chip handling input from the number of sensors. Kuo says that “the AR headset will require at least 6-8 optical modules to provide continuous video see-through AR services simultaneously.”

The AR headset might also come with two 4K OLED microdisplays manufactured by Sony. The headset could also come with support for VR.

Kuo further notes that the AR headset would be positioned as a standalone product rather than an accessory to iPhone or Mac.

“If the AR headset is positioned only as an accessory for the Mac or iPhone, it will not be conducive to the growth of the product. An AR headset that works independently means that it will have its own ecosystem and provide the most complete and flexible user experience,” Kuo said in his research note.

AR headsets to replace the iPhone as Apple’s flagship product

Kuo didn’t shy away from suggesting that AR could be the new goal for the Cupertino giant. As per Kuo, the headset needs to work with a “wide range” of applications instead of those compatible with the selected apps. He further said that Apple would need to sell at least a billion headsets in the next 10 years if the company wants to replace it with the iPhones.

“Currently, there are more than one billion active iPhone users. If Apple’s goal is to replace the iPhone with AR in ten years, it means Apple will sell at least one billion AR devices in ten years,” said Kuo.

For now, only time will tell if the AR headset could replace iPhones, and for the time being, we can just speculate what Apple has in store for us. Previous rumours have suggested that the upcoming AR headset would be a lightweight offering weighing between 200-300 grams with fabric exteriors. As far as pricing is concerned, it’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea to afford one as rumours have indicated it to be priced somewhere between $1,000 to $3,000.