Apple’s wear-anywhere augmented-reality glasses that so many people are looking forward are still at least three years away, according to a reliable source.
Don’t confuse these with the bulkier VR/AR headset that leaks say will launch in June. AR glasses are expected to be much smaller… once the necessary technology is available.
Augmented reality could be a game changer
Apple CEO Tim Cook is a fan of augmented reality. He gushed about its potential in a recent interview.
AR overlays the real world with computer-generated content. Walk down the street wearing a pair of AR glasses and get real-time walking directions. Or look at a MacBook to see a pair of virtual displays floating beside it.
It’s distinctly different from virtual reality, which replaces everything with computer images.
Apple AR glasses in 2026 at the earliest
But we’re looking at a multi-year wait for a pair of AR glasses to come out of Cupertino.
Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst with TF International Securities, references, “Apple Glasses (not AR/MR headsets) which will go to mass production in 2026 or 2027 at the earliest,” in a new research note to investors.
Kuo’s note is specifically about one of the technologies he expects to go into the AR glasses: metalenses. These are flat lenses capable of focusing light, as opposed to traditional curved lenses. “Glasses-type head-mounted display devices are the killer application for metalens,” said the analyst.
But there are other technological breakthroughs necessary for a lightweight augmented-reality device to be practical. Better batteries is likely near the top of that list — the VR/AR headset Apple is supposedly launching this year is expected to be bulky.