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Thursday, August 11, 2022

Top Apple analyst sees its Mixed Reality headset greeting the light of day next January

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In a note to TF International clients written by top analyst Ming-Chi Kuo and read by 9to5Mac, Kuo says that Apple’s Mixed Reality headset will most likely be released next January. Kuo’s note focused on the growth prospects of the VR industry. Kuo explains that Meta (formerly named Facebook) will now have to compete with Apple. However, the industry is growing so fast says Kuo, that Apple’s involvement in it should not hurt Meta’s growth.

Kuo calls the Mixed Reality headset the most complicated product Apple has ever built

The analyst actually believes that with Meta slowing down, it might provide an opening for other companies to get involved in VR technology. While Meta has to deal with the inclusion of Apple in the industry, Kuo credits the firm with being the key to growth in the VR headset business.

As for Apple, Kuo calls its VR/AR headset “the most complicated product Apple has ever designed.” The most recent word on the headset is that it will be a standalone device and will handle all of its own processing instead of handing it off to the iPhone. Chips with the processing power of Apple’s M1 component are rumored to be involved in the device. As many as 14 cameras will track the movement of the product which could retail for as much as $3,000 and run on the new reality Operating System.

What isn’t known yet is whether the battery powering the headset will be worn by the user or built into the handset. VR, or virtual reality, allows the user to immerse himself in a totally made-up world. AR, or augmented reality, adds a layer of data to a real-time video feed. For example, the Live View AR walking feature in Google Maps uses your phone’s camera to show a real-time video feed of your current location. A layer of real-time data on top shows you in which direction you should walk to get to your destination while also pointing out famous landmarks.
Kuo last year called for Apple to release the Mixed Reality headset in 2022. But that might have been too ambitious a schedule for Apple to keep. At one point earlier this month, the analyst pushed out a tweet that forecast a release during the second quarter of 2023. He said that the COVID-related Shanghai lockout would delay the production of the headset. He also revealed a road map starting with an Engineering Validation Test (EVT).

The EVT test comes after a prototype is selected and multiple versions of the device are produced that have both the functionality and look and feel of the final product. It is estimated that as many as 50 units of the headset were manufactured during this process (check your local bars to see if one was “accidentally” left on the floor). Kuo expects pre-orders of the headset to start during the second quarter of 2023 with the product hitting store shelves just before WWDC 2023 which could take place in early June of next year.

After the Mixed Reality handset comes Apple’s next big thing!

The analyst says that his supply chain sources help him compute the expected release date of the product. Not only has Apple’s board of directors already been given the opportunity to try the device, but recently Apple CEO Tim Cook, a huge fan of AR (and an enemy of leaks), said in an interview with Chinese media to standby for Apple’s Mixed Reality handset.

Following the release of the Mixed Reality headset, as soon as 2024, Apple could be ready to start shipping its next big thing. Apple Glass, an AR-driven set of glasses has long been considered Apple’s possible successor to the iPhone. Similar to Google Glass, Apple Glass could provide users with many of the same capabilities found on the iPhone but instead of holding a display in your hands, the screen would be viewed through your eyeglass lens.

Some analysts believe that Apple Glass will eventually replace the iPhone to become Apple’s most popular product.

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