The analyst Ming-Chi Kuo outlines Apple’s roadmap for its augmented reality division that would have lenses with augmented reality within 10 years. Apart from the AR lenses in this timeline, we see the plans to develop a mixed reality headset too.
Kuo has brought together several predictions at the same time that we already knew about. Smart lenses are the last to join the party, as they will arrive, according to Kuo, in 2030.
Unfortunately, Kuo does not give more details except to ensure that they would focus on the so-called “invisible computing.” The amazing thing about these lenses is that they would not use any kind of processing device but would act like an iPhone screen projected directly into our eyes.
Given Apple’s desire to strengthen its own ecosystem, it is reasonable to think that these lenses would act as a kind of miniature Google Glass. They will be able to show us information in real-time, notifications from our associated devices, and so on.
Kuo defines 3 phases for his predictions — the mixed reality headset that would arrive in mid-2022, dedicated augmented reality glasses in 2025, and the aforementioned lenses.
The mixed reality headset would be currently in development, with prototypes that would weigh approximately 300 grams, although Apple hopes to reduce this weight to 100 or 200 grams. It will be equipped with a micro-OLED screen signed by Sony and will have optical modules that, in addition to providing virtual reality experiences, can also run an augmented reality.
It will be portable, it will have the computational capacity, and although it will not be totally mobile, it will be light enough to be transported. Of course, they will not be cheap; Kuo estimates that the cost will be around $1,000 due to the complexity of its design.
In return, this headset will not only provide a “significantly better immersion experience than existing VR products” but will equip two ultra-high-resolution 8K displays and real-time eye-tracking technology. Not counting a dozen cameras that will track our movements to transfer them to the content.
The glasses, meanwhile, will provide “an optical augmented reality experience” and will position themselves more as a “mobile” device. These will be integrated with the Apple Car system, or so Kuo hopes, although, for this device, there is much more development time. The idea, again, is to revive the concept of Google Glass, with an augmented reality interface directly in our eyes. Something similar, but without augmented reality, to what we have seen recently with the new Razer smart glasses.