Based on recent reports, we've got a pretty clear picture of what to expect from Apple's rumored augmented reality headset expected to arrive next year, but the outlook is more opaque concerning its consumer-grade AR smartglasses.
Now, an analyst with a proven track record projecting Apple's product roadmap has not only set an event horizon for the company's next-generation AR smartglasses but also surfaced yet another augmented reality wearable, smart contact lenses, further down the path.
A new research report from TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, surfaced by MacRumors, reaffirms the arrival of Apple's AR/VR headset for 2022, followed by smartglasses as early as 2025 and smart contacts in the 2030-2040 timeframe.
Kuo does not believe that Apple has not arrived at a prototype for its AR smartglasses at the moment, but he does believe that the device will integrate with the oft-rumored Apple Car.
In addition, Kuo predicts that the VR headset with pass-through AR capabilities will fall in line with the price of Apple's premium iPhones (around $1,000). It currently weighs between 200-300 grams but he expects it to be reduced to 100-200 grams by launch.
The smartglasses timeframe represents a slip from previous expectations of a 2023 launch time frame.
Smart contact lenses with augmented reality capabilities have long been a dream of science fiction, but it has recently materialized in practical technology. Startup Mojo Vision is testing a working model dubbed Mojo Lens and is seeking FDA approval. However, the company's initial customers are expected to be visually-impaired individuals, followed by enterprise users.
A 2030-2040 window for Apple to emerge with its contacts seems like a realistic possibility, but it is also more of a shot in the dark than anything.
The AR headset and smartglasses, however, give those who live on the cutting edge of technology something to look forward to in the nearer term.