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It’s been rumored for some time now that Apple has been working on some type of Augmented Reality (AR) device to pair with its iPhone, and now we have some spicy new rumors to add to the mix. According to famed analyst and Apple product future-seer Ming-Chi Kuo of TFI Asset Management, Apple is about a year away from launching the glasses, and they will be just as powerful as its low-end MacBook computers thanks to the inclusion of Apple’s vaunted silicon, according to CNBC.
As the report notes, it was previously assumed that Apple’s AR glasses would be similar to current AR offerings in that it would need to be tethered to another device, presumably an iPhone, to handle the actual heavy lifting involved in rendering 3D objects in space. But with the arrival of Apple’s power-sipping M1 silicon, it appears the company is now angling to use newly designed chips similar to the M1 as the brains of the operation. If this rumor pans out, it would indeed allow Apple to distance itself from its rivals in the still-nascent product category, as Kuo states the glasses would be able to operate independently of other devices, such as a Mac computer or iPhone. Kuo has stated that Apple’s goal is to replace the iPhone with AR within 10 years.
Kuo goes on to predict the glasses will use two chips, stating, “The higher-end processor will have similar computing power as the M1 for Mac, whereas the lower-end processor will be in charge of sensor-related computing.” He believes the optical portion of the product will employ dual 4K micro OLED panels from Sony, and that it will be powerful enough to operate as its own independent product separate from the iPhone, with its own ecosystem of software and apps, according to 9to5mac. Kuo has previously stated the Apple glasses will also use Wi-Fi 6, which allows for maximum bandwidth with low latency; a requirement for any enjoyable AR/VR experience.
However, according to reputable Apple reporter Mark Gurman, Apple is actually making a headset first, positioning it as an expensive, niche product that will be followed up in the future with a product that looks more like glasses. Gurman predicts the initial product will be quite premium, with a price tag hovering near $3,000.
Though there’s not much happening in the AR glasses market at the moment, due to the fact that there’s still limited use cases for them and they usually need to be tethered to a powerful computer to function, Apple’s arrival in the market could possibly shake things up a bit, as Apple is wont to do. Apple is known for taking existing technologies and just making them easier to use, so it’s possible that’s what it is intending to achieve here. Either way, this is a product category that is seemingly heating up a bit, especially with Facebook changing its name to Meta, and beginning to talk about the hardware it’s working on to facilitate the eventual transformation of the human race into our avatars.
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