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Apple's AR glasses won't launch until at least 2022, analyst says

The rumored glasses had been previously expected to debut later this year.

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

Apple's long-rumored foray into the augmented headset market won't happen until 2022 at the earliest, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reportedly said in a note to investors.

Sources told CNET in 2018 that Apple would reveal its plans for an augmented reality and virtual reality headset sometime this year. But the coronavirus pandemic has created supply chain issues in China and a slowdown in manufacturing and purchasing for a number of high-profile tech giants, including Apple and Samsung.

The headset is expected to use AR technology, which overlays computer images on the real world, and VR, which tricks your brain into believing you've been transported into a computer program. Apple's move into headsets would also put it in deeper competition with Microsoft and Facebook, whose respective HoloLens and Oculus devices are considered among the market leaders. 

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 last year, including a whole AR-making toolkit called Reality Composer.

Apple's rumored AR-VR ambitions appeared to come closer to reality on Thursday with news it had purchased the VR streaming sports company NextVR, which streams live sports from specialized cameras set up courtside to people's headsets at home, giving viewers the feeling they're sitting in premium seats.

Kuo also said in the note, reported earlier by AppleInsider, that Apple plans to launch two new iPad models -- a 10.8-inch ‌iPad‌ and an 8.5 to 9-inch ‌iPad‌ mini --in the second half of 2020 and the first half of 2021, respectively.

Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.