Apple’s AR headset has ‘Mac-level computing power’ and launches in 2022, analyst predicts

Apple’s augmented reality headset will be as powerful as the Mac and will launch in 2022, according to a leaked report.

A research note from Apple analyst Ming-chi Kuo, reportedly seen by 9to5Mac, says the headset will have a processor “with the same level of computing power as the Mac.”

The headset will be able to work independently without having to rely on a Mac or an iPhone, and will support “a wide range of applications rather than specific applications”.

Apple’s goal, Kuo says, is to replace the iPhone with augmented reality technology within ten years.

“The higher processor will have the same computing power as the M1 for Mac, while the lower processor will be in charge of sensor-related computing,” he also says.

The headset has two Sony 4K micro OLED screens that may support virtual reality applications.

“Apple’s AR headset requires a separate processor because the processing power of the sensor is significantly higher than that of the iPhone. For example, the AR headset needs a minimum of 6-8 optical modules to provide continuous video-transparent AR services to users at the same time. By comparison, an iPhone requires up to three optical modules simultaneously and does not require continuous computing,” the note reads.

The headset will be positioned as a standalone product, rather than an accessory to other Apple products, to fuel growth, the report said.

However, previous reports on the product have suggested it would rely on an iPhone to perform its functions, similar to the first Apple Watches.

Other leaks suggest that Apple is in fact planning two different versions of the headset. The former offers high-end VR capabilities, but at a high price, which can be aimed at developers.

The more mainstream version would have smaller hardware and a lower price, mainly focused on augmented reality is expected to follow later.

Apple did not respond to a request for comment from the independent before the time of publication.

In addition to Apple, Facebook has also said it is working on augmented reality glasses called Project Aria, which would “add a 3D layer of useful, contextually relevant and meaningful information on top of the physical world”.

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