Apple to release AR headset by 2022 and AR glasses by 2023, report says

Earlier reports had suggested we'd see an AR headset from the company as soon as next year.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has indicated the company is preparing for a big future in AR.
James Martin/CNET

Apple is looking to release an augmented-reality headset by 2022 and a "sleeker" set of AR glasses by 2023, according to a report Monday from The Information. Apple executives reportedly discussed plans for its AR devices during an internal presentation to employees, including new details about the design and features of its AR headset.

The reported timeline doesn't exactly line up with earlier rumors about Apple's AR plans. Last month, a report from Ming-chi Kuo, an Apple analyst at TF International Securities, said the company's AR headset will enter mass production as soon as the fourth quarter of this year to meet an early 2020 launch. CNET also reported last year that Apple was working on an AR headset slated for release in 2020. 

Apple is planning to use a new 3D sensor system to back up the planned VR and AR products, Bloomberg reported later Monday. A new iPad Pro with the 3D sensor system could be released in the first half of 2020, the report said, while the high-end iPhones could get it in late 2020 as the next generation of Face ID.

The iPad Pro's rear will have two camera sensors plus a small hole for the 3D system, unnamed sources reportedly said. The system will allow people to "create three-dimensional reconstructions of rooms, objects and people," Bloomberg reported.

iPhone and iPad engineering teams are reportedly also working on a mixed-reality headset and glasses operating system called "rOS."

Apple CEO Tim Cook has indicated the company is preparing for a big future in AR, saying it's a technology that's potentially as important as the iPhone. Apple unleashed a number of AR tools at its WWDC developer conference earlier this year, including a whole AR-making toolkit called Reality Composer. And while we're still waiting for Apple to unveil an AR headset or glasses, there have been some hints in iOS 13 of what the company is working on. 

Apple declined to comment on the AR/VR headset and glasses, and didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on the 3D sensor system or rOS.

First published at 11:05 a.m. PT on Nov. 11.
Updated at 2:43 p.m.: Adds second report on 3D sensor system.

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