We’ve known for a while now that Apple is working on a high-end mixed reality headset with 8K screens, a powerful chip, and a lightweight design. What we haven’t known before today is that the company is already working on a second-generation version of the device.
The news comes from reputable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a new report, Kuo outlines what he expects from the headset in both its first- and second-generation iterations, according to MacRumors,. He states the device will mix augmented reality (AR) and VR into one device. That means there would be no need to pick up a second device if you were interested in both technologies, which would set it apart from most headsets currently on the market that tend to focus on one tech or the other.
Kuo’s report also offers a weight for the headset: Between 300 grams and 400 grams. That compares favorably to many other rival devices — the Oculus Quest 2 weighs in at 503g, for example, while the Sony PlayStation VR hits 600g. Interestingly, despite clocking in below many other VR headsets, Kuo’s prediction is at least double the 150g he asserted in March 2021.
When can we get our hands on the headset? Well, according to Kuo, the first-generation Apple headset will launch at some point in 2022. That’s an improvement on the 2023 release date we previously saw from Kuo in October 2021, and suggests Apple has made progress on its goal of creating a “complete software, ecosystem, and services” package, as Kuo puts it.
Speaking of which, some eagle-eyed sleuths have spotted a job posting at Apple that is seeking an AR and VR engineer for “next-generation interactive computing platforms” that will “enhance the capabilities and performance of AR/VR systems.” The successful applicant will work on “an entirely new application paradigm,” hinting at some new, unannounced AR/VR product — something that sounds very much like a mixed reality headset, for example.
That role could involve work on the second generation of Apple’s headset, which Kuo has also shared details about. Kuo’s report states that it will launch in the second half of 2024 and will be much lighter than the first-generation model, as well as possess a new industrial design, faster processor, and new battery system.
Kuo expects the first-generation device to sell in the range of 2.5 million to 3.5 million units. Then, as demand rises and features improve, the second-generation model could sell around 10 million units, Kuo believes.
And none of this includes the much more unobtrusive Apple AR glasses that the company is said to be working on and plans to release in the next few years. Put together, it seems Apple is diving deep into mixed reality. If all goes according to plan, it could be the company’s next big thing.