Apple has been rumored to be working on an augmented reality (AR) headset for years. And soon, it might finally send its creation into production.
In a note to investors on Friday, TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said that Apple will start producing its AR headset as soon as the fourth quarter of 2019. Kuo cautioned, however, that mass production could slip to the second quarter of 2020, if development doesn’t go as planned, according to Apple-tracking site 9to5Mac, which obtained a copy of the note.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has been vocal about his belief that augmented reality is the future. Unlike virtual reality, which places users inside an entirely computer-generated environment, augmented reality places virtual elements over the real world. When users wear AR headsets, they’ll see the environment they’re in, but can interact with virtual items that will intelligently adapt to the real world.
In its walk-up to an AR headset, Apple has been offering opportunities for developers to build AR apps through its ARKit platform. A ruler app Apple baked into iOS is a simple version of AR that allows users to employ their rear-facing iPhone cameras to measure real-world objects.
According to Kuo, Apple’s AR glasses will rely on the iPhone to power the features and will not act independently. Android users, then, will either need to buy an iPhone to use Apple’s device or find an alternative.
Kuo didn’t say how much the device might cost or exactly when it might be available. But judging by the production timeline, we could see the headset at some point in 2020.