There has been a lot of talk about Apple’s desire to launch AR products, but it has never been seen.
Recently, well-known Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo pointed out in a report to investors that Apple will launch AR headsets in the fourth quarter of 2022, and the performance of the devices will be comparable to Apple Mac computers.
So far, it has triggered a heated discussion on the Internet.
In fact, since 2018, there have been constant speculations that Apple will release AR hardware devices, but they have been repeatedly beaten in the face. On the eve of this year’s WWDC 2021 Global Developers Conference, Apple’s official poster showed a girl wearing glasses, and the reflective content in the lenses was particularly emphasized, which seemed to imply the long-rumored AR glasses. As a result, the meeting was over, but there was still nothing.
Since the beginning of this year, Metaverse has become the hottest concept in the field of science and technology. Not long ago, Zuckerberg changed the name of Facebook to Meta, and fully entered the meta-universe. In China, technology giants such as Huawei, Bytedance, and BAT have also deployed.
However, Apple, which has always been at the forefront of technology, seems to have little interest in this. Previously, in an interview with Time Magazine, Cook rejected the term “meta-universe” and said that Apple was only deploying AR. He believes that AR is a superposition of the virtual world and the real world. This method will not distract people from the physical world, but will only strengthen the relationship and cooperation between each other.
In the past five years, Cook has publicly stated that he is a supporter of AR technology 15 times. Today, Apple has a research and development team of nearly 1,000 people in the AR field.
Regardless of how much AR is connected to Metaverse, and regardless of whether Cook has no interest in Metaverse, what is certain is that Apple wants to lead AR technology.
Layout AR, Apple is ambitious
In 2017, Apple launched the ARKit development platform at WWDC, which developers can use to create augmented reality applications for devices such as iPhone and iPad. At the iPhone X conference in the same year, Cook said that the next ten years of the iPhone will be a brand-new period of development, and AR technology has also begun to develop.
In 2018, Apple acquired the optical waveguide company AKONIA, which is an important layout of Apple in the field of holographic optical waveguides. According to media reports, Apple is in the trial production of optical waveguide lenses and other products with OEMs.
In 2019, Apple acquired IKinema, a British motion capture technology company, to improve ARKit’s human gesture recognition and tracking technology functions. Since then, Apple has acquired Spectral Edge, a British AI startup, to improve iPhone pictures through its machine learning. At the same time, more than 4,000 AR applications on the Apple Store were launched, including games, tools, business, and other types.
In 2020, the United States Patent and Trademark Office respectively published Apple’s patents on virtual meeting solutions and MR headset optics. Since then, USPTO announced Apple’s latest MR head-mounted device patent. There are many patents of this kind. You can find more than 2000 related patents when you search the official website of the US Patent and Trademark Office with keywords “Apple” and “Augmented Reality”.
According to Zhixizhi, in 2021, Apple has obtained 11 patents related to AR headsets. Tianyan Check shows that just last month, Apple published a patent for a “display and vision correction system with removable lens ” in China.
Over the years, Apple is like a ruthless harvester. It has acquired a large number of companies involved in AR and AI technology and has applied for numerous related patents. This is also the main way Apple has deployed AR.
“Pregnant” for many years, AR may be Apple’s next killer
Previously, Guo Mingchi pointed out in the report that Apple’s AR head display has the following advantages compared with other competitors.
First, it has Mac-level computing power; second, it can run independently without relying on Mac or iPhone; in addition, it can support a wide range of applications, not limited to specific applications.
The report also shows that in addition to AR head displays, Apple may also launch AR/VR headsets in late 2022 or early 2023. By 2025, AR glasses may come out.
In addition, Guo Mingchi declared that Apple’s goal is to let AR replace the iPhone in 10 years. At present, the iPhone has more than 1 billion active users, which also means that within 10 years, Apple will sell at least 1 billion AR devices.
Regarding the pricing of AR head displays, there is no conclusion yet. The media has claimed that due to the high-end technology involved, the cost of the product is about US$2,000 to US$3,000. Guo Mingchi said that the price of the device may be similar to that of a high-end iPhone, about $1,000.
In AR products, Apple has “pigeoned” consumers time and time again, but as long as there is a little disturbance, everyone will turn their attention to the technology giant. After all, everyone wants to know what kind of answer sheet Apple, which is standing in the front of AR technology, will hand over.
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