Apple AR Headset Planned For 2022; Smart Glasses Held Up Until 2023

Apple is said to be planning a launch of augmented reality (AR) headsets in 2022, and a year later, introduce smart glasses with the same technology, The Information reported on Monday (Nov. 11).

An employee meeting last month led by Apple Vice President Mike Rockwell revealed product details and a timeline for releases, sources told the news outlet. Rockwell heads the team working on Apple’s AR initiatives. 

Tech companies are racing to release an AR product that can be worn like regular glasses. AR smart glasses are anticipated to eventually replace phones, computer screens and televisions.

Apple’s headset and glasses will use cameras for AR, similar to what’s available on iPhones and iPads, the report said.

The AR glasses are code-named N421 and are “meant to be worn all day,” the report indicated.

Rumors of Apple’s virtual realist (VR) headset and AR glasses have been circulating for about six years, Mashable reported. 

The product timetables run counter to recent analyst and media reports that said an Apple AR device could arrive as early as next year. TF International Securities Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said last month that an AR headset was being released in 2020. 

Even though the Apple AR product doesn’t exist, the company still managed to beat Google in a survey about the smart glasses market.

A recent survey of AR/VR industry insiders by Digi-Capital and AWE saw Apple come in as the third most important smart glasses platform, after Microsoft HoloLens and Magic Leap.

The data in the report explains that there are five challenges used to rate consumer smart glasses: hero device (i.e. an Apple-quality device, whether made by the tech giant or someone else), all-day battery life, mobile connectivity, app ecosystem, and price.

Digi-Capital first predicted that Apple would launch smartphone-tethered smart glasses in late 2020 over three years ago. 

“If anyone is going to launch Apple-quality smart glasses, it’s Apple. Despite a narrative of the company being more evolutionary than revolutionary in recent years, Apple’s design track record remains a standout,” said Tim Merel, managing director, and Isabelle Hierholtz, user strategy director of Silicon Valley AR/VR adviser at Digi-Capital.