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Apple’s AR headset could land next year and be more powerful than the iPhone 14

Apple VR
(Image credit: Future)
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Rumors and whispers have propagated for years claiming Apple is working on an AR (augmented reality) or VR headset, and now the wearable is in sight at last: Expect it to be released in late 2022.

At least, that's the story according to Ming-Chi Kuo (an analyst with a great track record for Apple leaks), in a research report seen by MacRumors.

According to Kuo, the headset will be capable of both AR and VR, with the latter enabled by a pair of 4K Micro OLED displays from Sony. It will apparently be powered by a chipset similar to the M1 that we’ve seen in some Macs and the iPad Pro 2021.

That’s a higher class of chipset than you’ll find in the iPhone range, so the Apple VR headset could feasibly be even more powerful than the iPhone 14, which may land at around the same time.

Kuo says that all this power will mean it can work independently of an iPhone or Mac, and that it will include a second lower-end processor that will power the sensors in the device. This secondary processor will apparently be necessary due to the large number of sensor-related aspects.

For example, it will apparently have “at least 6-8 optical modules to simultaneously provide continuous video see-through AR services to users.”

It sounds like an impressive gadget then, and while we’d take this with a pinch of salt, Kuo is often right, and the late 2022 release date claims are in line with other sources.

Our main concerns are simply the price, which an earlier leak put at around $3,000 (roughly £2,250 / AU$4,200), and the battery life, which might be an issue with so much tech to power.


Apple

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Analysis: first a headset, then glasses, then the world

If leaks are to be believed then Apple’s AR/VR headset is just the first step, with the company planning Apple Glasses for some time later. These would also be an AR device, but they would likely be far sleeker – more like glasses than a headset. Think a more polished version of Google Glass.

And with these products, the iPhone’s days could be numbered, as in the same research report as the AR headset details, Kuo claimed (according to 9to5Mac) that he believes the iPhone will be replaced by AR devices within ten years.

That’s part of why he’s confident that the Apple AR headset will work without being tethered to a phone – because Apple doesn’t want it just to be an accessory, the company apparently wants it (or a similar wearable) to one day be your primary smart device.

James Rogerson
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.