The Apple rumor drumbeat is getting louder: a wearable augmented reality device is almost certainly coming, very soon.
At least that's the lay of the land based on yet another breadcrumb dropped on Wednesday regarding Apple's upcoming plans for a "mixed reality" device in the coming months.
Recent reports from reliable analysts have pegged the release of Apple's long rumored wearable to 2022, but a new thread has now emerged that indicates we'll see the actual design of Apple's wearable a lot sooner than that…possibly, in mere months.
"Sometime in the next several months, the company is poised to announce a mixed reality headset, its first major new device since 2015," a new report from Bloomberg claims while referencing the upcoming WWDC conference, which will be held virtually. "If possible, Apple won't want to make such a critical announcement at an online event. It wants employees, the media, its partners and developers in the room."
This would track with previous major releases like the original iPhone in 2007 and the Apple Watch in 2014. Both devices experienced leaks many months ahead of their releases, with official announcements coming long before the device actually reached consumers.
However, in the case of a head-mounted wearable, Apple is delving into entirely new territory. It's one thing to hold an odd new device in your palm, or an unusual new accessory on your wrist, but committing to changing your entire face by wearing a pair of AR smartglasses is a huge statement, even for the edgiest of fashionistas and trendsetters.
Of course, given Apple's design track record, most AR insiders are banking on the notion that Apple will be the company to get it "mostly" right when it comes to introducing something the mainstream consumer will embrace, even if the device ends up costing more than an Apple laptop. Now that the coronavirus vaccines are being widely distributed in the US, it's not unrealistic to imagine that a small group of people are already being vetted for inclusion in a public, in-person reveal of Apple's next wearable.
If so, the health protocols will likely be the easy part—the real challenge will be launching something that everyone is ready to put on their face. Remember, when Apple's AirPods were released the "Q-Tips in your ears" jokes were ubiquitous. Today? It's the AirPods and AirPods Pro that are ubiquitous. So we shouldn't be surprised if, this time next year, many of our faces look very different thanks to a new, hard-to-resist Apple AR wearable.