According to a report by The Information, Apple is gearing up to enter a new phase in production on its fabled AR headset. Together with Foxconn Technology, the Taiwan-based contract manufacturer behind many of Apple’s mobile devices, the company is said to have entered the trial production on the AR lens portion of the device.

The report, citing a person familiar with the matter, maintains the lenses first passed the prototype stage “two months ago.”

The lenses, which are described as “semitransparent”, are said to be two years away from mass production. The Information’s source further says the AR headset itself would also likely arrive around that supposed 2022 timeframe.

Rumored & unverified ‘Apple Glass’ logo, Image courtesy Jon Prosser, Front Page Tech

Apple has likely been developing an AR headset since at least 2017, although we haven’t had anything rock solid to go on until recently. Late last year, files in the beta of iOS 13.1 were discovered that provided a clear sign that Apple is currently testing a range of stereoscopic AR headsets internally.

Apple doesn’t tend to talk about its future products, so of course there was no comment to either affirm or deny the report—or any report for that matter.

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Whether the report holds true or not remains to be seen, however if the lenses are indeed headed out of R&D and are being produced in limited quantities, we can expect to see more of these sorts of ‘leaks’ (if they can be classified as such) since the supply chain represents more of opportunity for a wider dispersal of curious eyeballs. Maybe some cheeky snaps from prototype testing like we saw with Valve Index?

Or maybe the report from noted leaker Jon Prosser detailing a number of claims, including a $499 price tag, Q1 2022 launch date, and ‘Apple Glass’ naming scheme are genuine. Of course, as with all rumors and reports, we’re taking this one with a big grain of salt.

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  • Ad

    We all need to prepare for this. VR media need to be careful not to suggest VR fixate on passive use software and small form factors. Devs need to take things like the Mixed Reality Toolkit seriously so their software can be cross compatible between VR and AR if it is suitable for that. We need things like hand tracking to be more open platform so when a hand tracked apple set up comes out you don’t have to start from scratch. It’s some ways off but AR will be bigger than VR just like smartphones are bigger than laptops and consoles. Doesn’t make it better, at all, but it does mean we need to have rational expectations. Besides, a VR industry that doesn’t try to copy what AR will end up doing will be more creative and useful.

    • dk

      don’t expect anything more then something like this https://www.theverge.com/2019/2/14/18223593/focals-smart-glasses-north-review-specs-features-price also the leaked price for apple glass was $500 ….could be the price in a bundle or whatever

      • Bob

        I’m interested to know who is further ahead in this field; two mega corporations with almost unlimited cash – Facebook, Apple Inc.

        The only difference between these two extraordinarily rich companies is that one is more transparent about what they’re doing.

        It’s going to be the battle of these two titans in the VR/AR consumer sector.

        • Don’t forget Alphabet and their Google advertising business (cash printing machine)

          They have all kinds of technology under development across many sectors, Deepmind here in London doing incredible work in AI (very important for AR).

          Forget Daydream, that was an extension of cardboard. AR Core has been brewing nicely!

          AR has huge potential as replacement for smartphones; improvement to situational awareness and improved quality of life by moving to “head up, hands free” pose cannot be understated.

          • Bob

            Not too confident about Google because unfortunately they have the habit of cancelling projects prematurely. They have great ideas but their execution of these ideas always fall flat.

            Their Google Glass is specifically for the enterprise sector, and even that venture isn’t doing too well in this part of the market.

            For now the only big players I can see pumping cash like there is no tomorrow in R&D for AR/VR related technology is Facebook, and Apple. In fact at the moment it’s all hands on deck from both sides (Apple apparently have 1000+ employees working on the technology alone).

          • Google like Microsoft are heavily into research and development with numerous leading researchers and scientists; there’s a lot going on you won’t hear about. It’s very opaque, I glean only snippets during guarded conversations when I’ve visited or talked to Googlers.

            Premature technology isn’t worth talking up, AR isn’t viable yet at scale for mass adoption. Projects like daydream and glass were sampling with limited funding.

            Of then of course…that little thing called Android on millions of smartphones, AR Core is now in sharp focus for good reason, preparation for paradigm shift.

          • If you put ANY stock in a Google hardware platform,
            you’re just setting yourself up for major disappointment ….

        • dk

          well if apple had consumer ar/vr products u could compare the profits …now there is nothing to compare

          • Bob

            We’re talking about the future and not right now. Also we’re talking about the level of technological advancement and not really the business side of it.

            Obviously Apple don’t have a product line out there but that will change soon (one or two years from now) and this is where it gets interesting. No doubt they have already developed the platform from which the AR/VR devices will run on.

          • dk

            apple will have the equivalent of focals https://www.theverge.com/2019/2/14/18223593/focals-smart-glasses-north-review-specs-features-price ….at least for 4 generations before they make a proper ar headset …instead of a smartwatch for your face

            they want to sell millions of a shiny light accessories that
            can be used all day long ……not something with a wire that will drain your phone battery in 3 hours or less if u don’t have 100% ….unless someone has gone off the rails at apple they won’t have something similar to nreal light for quite a few years ….not because it can’t be done well enough but because it doesn’t match their strategy

      • Ad

        I think, looking at the NReal glasses, that you will be able to have a good picture in AR glasses, and their function will be quite different from VR. Dedicated VR displays will always be better too. Cell phones “are” computers, but not in how we use them or how we look for a good phone or a good computer.

        • dk

          ar and vr r both monitors tracked in space….vr won’t be always a box on your face that can’t show u the real world at 60ppd and low enough passthrough latency …and ar won’t be always subpar fov picture quality and opacity

          anyway the important part was ……..apple won’t release something with a wire that drains your phone battery in 3 hours or less if u don’t have 100%
          yes nreal light is great ….the only way apple glass will be similar is if it’s a stand alone accessory like focals ….but with an optional wired phone connection …but I doubt it
          they want to sell millions of a shiny light accessories that can be used all day long ….unless someone has gone off the rails at apple

    • kontis

      AR will be bigger than VR just like smartphones are bigger than laptops and consoles.

      And? I remember how in 2012 experts, including Gabe Newell (!) were saying that next gaming console generation (PS4 and xbox one) would be doomed because of mobiles and Apple.

      Now we have 2020 and PC and consoles are still the kings of core gaming market.

      I remember how Carmack was hyped for GearVR (because mobile == popular) and then bragging how it was the most successful VR platform of all time (user base numbers in millions – yay!), completely ignoring that use time and sales per user are more than 10x worse than on PC. Now GearVR is dead and apparently Samsung was disappointed with the numbers, so they still don’t have any kind of replacement.

      tl;dr big mainstream numbers and the actual market are 2 different things. AR glasses even being much more popular than VR headsets may not sell the same games in as many copies as those less popular VR headsets for geeks

      BTW, sleek AR glasses will always struggle with thermal limitations and performance.

      • Ad

        Oh no, I totally agree. I’m saying that VR will be a better medium, but people will do boring things like web browsing, FaceTime, making appointments, etc in AR glasses. I just don’t want to see VR try to be AR and ignore what makes VR so good. Yeah, besides maybe ping pong and some basic puzzle games VR will always been the best medium for games. Units sold shouldn’t be how we measure success for VR and AR up against each other.

    • AR & VR have nothing to do with each other.
      Like TV and radio.

      • Ad

        That’s… not true at all? A lot of more basic VR software can be AR. Hand tracked social apps, tilt brush, ping pong, watching non 360 video, virtual monitors, etc. Again, it’s like laptops and cellphones.

  • dk

    can we trust “The Information” :P jk
    I wonder if they will have a public dev kit ….if something is getting announced this year like Prosser thinks(if it’s not delayed like he said) ….it might be the dev kit

  • Bob

    Facebook vs Apple – 2022.

    • Oh absolutely. It’ll make the smartphone era look caveman-like.
      And like smartphones, it’ll start off costly and relatively weak,
      then become more & more powerful and much less expensive.

    • Privacy vs Your entire life exposed to governments. I hope Apple wins, if not everybody will suffer the same rating system of chinese government on their countries.

  • Till Eulenspiegel

    2022? I think they are waiting for all their machines to be ARM based so the VR/AR apps will run on all their devices. I believe the glasses is not stand-alone like Oculus Quest, it will stream wireless from the Mac or iOS devices. The Sidecar feature in current MacOS already demonstrated how good the wireless streaming works with Apple’s new hardware.

    • Why would an XR app be run on a flat device?

  • TechPassion

    First, they collect information on all inventions in the market, wait till all devices be released and then they will fill patents for things already on the market. Copy-cats

  • Ted Joseph

    Apple, Samsung, and Google are in a good position to be the dominating force for AR as they can use the processing from your mobile (as they have most of the market share in mobile devices) with fast WiFi to the glasses. I am excited to see what 2022 brings!