Apple's first augmented reality headset is coming next year, says analyst

Apple's long-rumored augmented reality glasses could arrive next year, according to an Apple watcher.

The next wearable from Apple will be a "helmet type" augmented reality device that could be ready for sale by 2022, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo in some research that was seen by MacRumors

Apple has been playing around with AR concepts for years, as has been seen in various patents showing that its engineers are figuring out how to optimally integrate sensors into a head-mounted display or glasses. Apple CEO Tim Cook has been publicly talking up AR for years, too – and the company has laid the foundations for it with ARKit, its AR app development platform for iOS. 

Kuo, who has a reputation for accurate predictions about Apple's next products, reckons Apple will release a mixed reality headset "in mid-2022" and follow it up with AR glasses by 2025.

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This would put Apple in competition with Microsoft's HoloLens headset and the Magic Leap One.   

"We predict that Apple's MR/AR product roadmap includes three phases: helmet type by 2022, glasses type by 2025, and contact lens type by 2030–2040," writes Kuo. 

"We foresee that the helmet product will provide AR and VR experiences, while glasses and contact lens types of products are more likely to focus on AR applications."

Apple apparently wants to get the weight of the headset down to 100-200 grams, or about half of what its current prototypes weigh. Microsoft's second generation HoloLens weighs 566 grams and costs a hefty $3,500

Kuo reckons Apple will offer a much cheaper headset that starts at around $1,000, roughly the price of a high-end iPhone 

There have been lots of rumors about an Apple-made AR headset. The Information reported recently that Apple's AR headset would have over a dozen cameras to track hand movements, 8K displays, and an eye tracker. The device would also support Apple's service revenue plans, integrating with Apple TV+ and Apple Arcade,