Apple's cheaper AR/MR headset might arrive in 2025 | Cult of Mac

Apple’s cheaper AR/MR headset might arrive in 2025

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Apple VR/AR headset takes big step toward production
Wait until 2025 if you want don't want to spend a bomb on Apple's AR headset.
Concept: Martin Hajek/Computer Bild

Apple’s second-generation AR/MR headset could debut in 2025 with a more affordable price tag than the original. The company seemingly plans to launch two different variants of the headset to target consumers with different budgets.

Apple’s first-generation mixed reality headset is currently expected to launch in the first half of 2023.

Budget Apple headset could boost shipments

Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo thinks Apple could ship 10 million AR headsets by 2025 or 2026. This will be due to its “product segmentation strategy and ecosystem,” which will involve launching a cheaper variant in 2025 or 2026.

There will also be a more expensive model packing bigger changes to justify its higher price tag. The cheaper model will likely be based on the first-gen headset with minor improvements.

Based on his supply chain research, Kuo says in a Medium post that Apple’s upcoming AR headset will use two 3P pancake modules. Much thinner than Fresnel lenses used in some devices, pancake modules allow for thinner, lighter VR headsets. The technology also offers other benefits, like decreased distortion.

This critical component will play a key role in the final design and visual capabilities of Apple’s headset, according to Kuo. Each pancake module costs around $30 or $40. And the second-gen headset could use even more-expensive pancake modules.

Apple’s first AR headset could debut in January 2023

Apple’s first-gen AR headset reportedly might debut at a media event in January 2023. The company supposedly already showcased the product to its board. Or Apple could demo its AR/VR headset during the iPhone 14 launch event in September. The company has done something similar in the past for significant product unveilings.

If all goes according to plan, the headset will enter into the engineering validation test phase in Q3 this year. Apple CEO Tim Cook even teased the headset in a recent interview and told the public to “stay tuned” for it.

For consumers, preorders could start sometime in Q2 2023. The AR/VR headset could finally hit stores before the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in 2023.

Kuo previously predicted the AR headset could cost upward of $3,000, making it an expensive proposition. If that price tag ends up being correct, Apple’s first-gen AR headset could find limited takers. A more affordable option could help change that in 2025 or 2026.