It's been rumored for a long time that Apple is working on AR (augmented reality) glasses, but while some reports pointed to a 2020 launch, the latest leak suggests we may be waiting until at least 2022 for Apple AR glasses.
That’s according to “people familiar with the matter” speaking to The Information. Specifically, the company is apparently aiming to release an AR headset in 2022, followed by “sleeker” AR glasses in 2023.
These timelines were apparently discussed by Apple executives in October as part of an internal presentation led by Apple Vice President Mike Rockwell, who heads Apple’s AR initiatives team.
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We’d certainly take this information with a pinch of salt, especially since it’s at odds with other rumors – but given that we haven’t heard a huge amount about Apple’s AR glasses yet it would make sense if they were still years away.
Advanced AR features
This latest report does include some other details though, with the source adding that the initial AR headset will have a high-resolution display, and cameras, and will feature the ability for users to “read small type“ on the screen.
The Apple AR headset may also include 3D scanning and advanced human detection, two features that should help enable it to map surfaces and people, so that virtual objects can be precisely and convincingly placed in environments.
You can already see examples of virtual objects in environments through games like Pokémon Go, but it sounds like the Apple AR headset and glasses will be able to do it better, and in a way that lets you view these things more naturally, rather than having to wave your phone around.
The wearables should also apparently be able to more accurately map the dimensions of a room than a smartphone can, and Apple is said to be planning to start offering third-party app support for the headset and glasses from 2021, so there may be a number of compatible apps at launch.
The design of the headset, meanwhile, is said to be similar to the Oculus Quest, but sleeker and with a focus on making it lightweight and comfortable. As for the Apple AR glasses, they apparently look like high-end sunglasses, but with thick frames which are necessary to house components; of course, these design could change.
While there's a lot of information here, if Apple really isn’t planning to launch any AR wearables before 2022 then we may not hear much more for a while yet, but we’ll be sure to update you as soon as we do.
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James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to 3G.co.uk, 4G.co.uk and 5G.co.uk and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.