Shortly after Apple’s WWDC 2022 event, Apple CEO Tim Cook sat down for an interview with China Daily that shed a little more light on the company’s plans for the future. We’re talking "blink and you’ll miss it" levels of additional information. But it still provides what could be interpreted as a silver lining.
Rumors have suggested for months that Apple has been working on an Augmented Reality / Mixed Reality (AR / MR) combo headset. It was reported relatively recently that this headset was hit with delays that could push its reveal and release back to 2023. Or possibly even later. But Cook did let slip — probably intentionally — that Apple is most certainly working with AR experiences, and very likely something grander than software.
A China Daily reporter asked, "What do you think are the key factors for AR products such as AR headsets to succeed in the consumer market?" Cook responded, speaking about software at first, "Right now… we have over 14 thousand ARKit apps in the App Store, which provide AR experiences for millions of people around the world. But I think… we’re still in the very early innings of how this technology will evolve." Cook then dropped the hint we’ve been waiting for, saying, "I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunities we’ve seen in this space, and sort of stay tuned and you’ll see what we have to offer."
It doesn’t make up for the lack of AR headset info at WWDC 2022, and it doesn’t provide any extra details, but it at least confirms that something more tangible than ARKit development tools is still in the works.
What we do know about Apple’s AR headset
Most of the details that have been spilled on Apple’s AR / MR headset (possibly named "Apple Glass") are based on investor reports and analyst estimations, rather than confirmed specs from Apple itself. That said, the headset will likely be positioned alongside other high-end hardware (i.e. phones and computers) rather than peripherals (i.e. earbuds).
According to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the headset could out-perform current iPhones, or even be as powerful as a MacBook Pro. If Kuo’s report is accurate, it could also utilize two separate processors (one 4nm and one 5nm chip) and would require a 96V charger similar to the one that comes with the 14-inch MacBook Pro. And because the headset is being designed within Apple’s own ecosystem, integration with other products is expected to be fairly seamless.
If the rumors are true, the headset could also be more of a transitional stage, with Apple shrinking the tech used in the headset down into something much smaller and more easily wearable by 2025. With all of that said, we still can’t be sure exactly what Apple has planned or when to expect a release just yet. As Cook said, we’ll just have to "stay tuned."