Apple’s long-rumored, near-mythical augmented reality glasses might become a reality next year.
According to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (via MacRumors), the company plans to start mass-producing the AR headset as soon as the fourth quarter of 2019, and is aiming for a launch in the second quarter of 2020.
Kuo first said that Apple’s AR glasses are coming in 2020 back in March, but this time his timeline is a bit more precise — and he’s got a few new details about the gadget itself.
This particular rumor has been around for a very long time — in fact, ever since Apple started taking AR seriously. Apple had been awarded an AR headset patent back in February 2015, and it acquired German AR company Metaio in May that year, which is when the rumors really started rolling. The rumors were partially squashed by Apple CEO Tim Cook in October 2017, when he said the AR glasses won’t be coming soon, as the tech to do them properly just wasn’t there.
Technical details about these AR glasses are slim, but those we do have indicate that they might not be as big a deal for Apple as one might think. For one, Kuo claims that the AR glasses will be positioned as an iPhone accessory and not a standalone product category. Furthermore, Kuo claims the glasses will mostly be a display, with the iPhone doing most of the computing tasks for them. There’s a good side to this, though — this design should allow Apple to keep the glasses slim and lightweight.
According to Kuo, Apple will cooperate with third-party brands for the launch, and a company called Changying Precision will likely supply the main chassis.
Besides the AR glasses, Kuo also voiced a few predictions regarding other upcoming Apple gadgets. He claims that the company will launch a new iPad Pro, with a rear 3D time-of-flight camera, in the first quarter of 2020. This type of camera would enable the device to create an accurate 3D map of a room, which (again) is important for augmented reality apps. Kuo previously said the company will launch two iPhones with a time-of-flight camera in 2020 as well.
Finally, Kuo claims that all upcoming MacBooks, including a 16-inch model whose launch is imminent, will have a new, scissor keyboard mechanism instead of the problematic butterfly mechanism used on MacBook Pros since 2016.