Apple usually takes its reasonable time to enter new categories of products, but the wait may be over soon. Apple plans to launch its first augmented reality hardware by the second quarter of 2020, according to prolific analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Over the years, Apple’s AR glasses have been rumored repeatedly, but Kuo deems mass production could start as soon as this September, but no later than the middle of next year.
First-generation AR glasses are allegedly going to be an iPhone accessory rather than a stand-alone device. In other words, it will serve as a display, handling the computing, networking, and positioning of the iPhone. The AR glasses will probably connect wirelessly to an iPhone, but this is not explicitly stated in the report.
These concessions will keep the device light, portable and comfy to wear but it may drain the battery faster than Pokemon Go. There is not exactly a booming market at the moment for AR or VR glasses that are compatible with the iPhone, so this will allow Apple to test the waters without investing in a product as complicated, inconvenient or costly as the Oculus Go and its ilk.
It is worth mentioning that the details of Kuo’s report are perfectly aligned with a more than a year old Bloomberg story that alleged Apple would have the technology ready for an AR headset by 2019, with the purpose of releasing the device in 2020. It also discussed a completely new platform that would run on the headset called rOS (reality operating system). The plans to give the AR headset its own operating system may have been shelved if Kuo’s report is to be believed, but either way, on Apple’s end the release timing appears to be unchanged.