Apple unwrapped a handful of new products in 2021, including the iPhone 13, Apple Watch 7 and the new Macbook Pro laptops. With 2022 now here, it’s exciting to see what the tech giant has up its sleeves.

It’s been reported that Apple has high hopes for the next decade — augmented reality (AR) glasses, virtual reality (VR) headsets and even AR contact lenses may be on the horizon.

Here’s what we know so far about Apple’s future AR headset, when it may become widely available and other important developments.

An AR Headset May Be Available in 2022 or 2023

It’s understood that Apple is developing a niche AR headset that we could see on the market within a couple of years. According to Mark Gurman for Bloomberg, it may take some time for Apple to develop the headset since it had to overcome obstacles during initial development. That shouldn’t come as a surprise, considering that AR is still a nascent technology.

However, the device will likely incorporate elements of VR and display an all-encompassing digital experience, including some limited AR functionality.

It’s anticipated that Apple will create two types of headsets that blend AR and VR capabilities. They’re expected to be expensive, as Apple is known for charging high prices, especially when introducing an entirely new line of products. It could be upwards of $3,000 for one headset, while many existing VR headsets range between $300 and $900.

What are some key features of this Apple headset? Will it be as revolutionary as Facebook’s (recently renamed Meta) Oculus Quest?

Apple’s AR Headset: Key Features

Apple is very keen on using AR and VR tech in its products. In an interview with Forbes, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook said he’s excited about AR because it has resonance with consumers, as it enhances their real-world experience. In contrast, VR immerses you in an entirely different way, replacing your current reality with a digital one.

Cook believes that AR is not so much a product, per se, as it is a core technology — and he makes a valid argument. According to recent research, the global AR market will reach an estimated 88.4 billion by 2026.

Here are some of the key features that we might see in Apple’s yet-to-be-released AR/VR headset.

Has Strong Processing Power

Well-known analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said the upcoming Apple headset would have the same processing capabilities as the Mac, which will be the sole factor setting this headset apart from its competitors. According to Kuo, it’ll be similar to the M1 chip Apple has used more recently.

The AR/VR headset market is expected to get crowded in the next few years, as more companies and budding startups look to get their new high-tech products out on the market, especially in time for the holidays.

Operates Independently

Apple’s headset may not need to be connected to another device to function properly. Kuo claims it will operate independently, without using an iPhone, Apple Watch or any other Apple device.

Could Replace the iPhone

Would you believe that over 96% of Americans have a cellphone? That may not be surprising, considering that our world is becoming increasingly digital.

This figure may make it more challenging for Apple to replace the iPhone with its AR headset. The average consumer may not be as willing to adopt AR, as it’s a bit more advanced than your basic iPhone. There’ll be a learning curve some people may not be ready for. Apple may have to contend with customers new to using AR and deal with some of the negative feedback the tech received when Google tried and failed with Google Glass.

These are some examples of key features you may see in the new Apple AR headset. Apple has already mixed some AR/VR features into devices after launching ARKit, a tool used to create AR experiences.

Anticipating the Apple AR Headset

Regardless of what the new Apple headset looks like, it will be interesting to see how wearable devices and smartphones will pave the way for AR, a revolutionary technology expected to grow in popularity and scale.

It’s expected that the Apple AR headset will be announced sometime in 2022 and released in 2023, so we won’t have long to wait.

April Miller is a senior writer at ReHack Magazine and editorial contributor at AR Insider. She specializes in VR/AR, IoT, and business technology. See her work here and follow her @rehackmagazine.

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