Apple's first-generation AR/MR headset is still a while away, and the second-generation AR/MR headset is even further away... but now analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is coming out with some shipping estimates that Apple "may reach" 10 million units "as soon as 2025 or 2026".
The key optical component of the Apple AR/MR headset are the high ASP Pancake lens, which the analyst says "directly affecting the visual experience and form factor design". But it will be the second-generation Apple AR/MR headset that "may have more high-end and more-affordable models".
Apple's second-gen AR/MR headset will reportedly launch in the first half of 2025, with component suppliers to begin shipping in the second half of 2024 says Kuo. The first-gen Apple AR/MR headset will use Pancake lens supplied by Genuis (the main supplier) and Young Optics (the second supplier). Kuo says that GIS is the "Pancake lens lamination supplier" while the "above suppliers are expected to be in the second-generation supply chain'.
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Ming-Chi Kuo has the full post you can check out here, but puts it into a nice list of what to expect:
- The high ASP Pancake lens is the key optical component of Apple AR/MR, directly affecting the visual experience and form factor design.
- The second-generation Apple AR/MR may have high-end and more-affordable models, which will launch in 1H25, and component suppliers will start shipping in 2H24.
- Apple AR/MR shipments may reach 10 million units as soon as 2025 or 2026, thanks to the second-generation Apple AR/MR product segmentation strategy and ecosystem.
- The first-generation Apple AR/MR Pancake lens suppliers are Genius (main supplier) and Young Optics (second supplier). GIS is the Pancake lens lamination supplier. The above suppliers are expected to be in the second-generation supply chain.
- The first-generation Apple AR/MR will adopt two 3P Pancake modules (one for each eye). The total cost of the Pancake lenses is about $30-40 (USD), roughly equivalent to 20 high-end 7P lenses. It provides a new growth driver for Apple's optical supply chain in the medium and long term. The cost of the second-generation Pancake lenses will likely increase to improve the visual experience and form factor design.
- Largan will likely be a new supplier of the Pancake lens for the second-generation Apple AR/MR headset and expand production capacity for this order in its new Taichung plant.
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The last we heard on the Apple AR/MR headset is that it will debut in 2023, with the base Apple M3 processor and 16GB of RAM according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. He said that the "latest internal incarnations of the device run the base M2 chip along with 16 gigabytes of RAM. And speaking of WWDC, there were plenty of software-related hints there about the headset's operating system, realityOS, and its features".
Apple's new AR/MR headset is said to feature two chips: one for the more power-hungry tasks, the other for lower-end tasks including sensor-related ones (of which there are many, given it has sensors, cameras, and all sorts being an augmented / mixed reality wearable).
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As for the second-gen Apple AR/MR headset, rumor has it that it will have an insane 4000PPI display... which was reportedly seeing Sony provide Apple with Micro-OLED panels (we're seeing more proof of that now) for the first-gen, but the second-gen Apple AR/MR headset is going with higher-resolution Micro-OLED panels from LG Display.
The outer screen on the Apple AR/MR headset is probably going to be an "indicator" screen, something used on the outside for future apps and games on the headset. Sony is making the Micro-OLED panel for inside of the first-gen Apple AR/MR headset, while a regular OLED panel (specifically, not Micro-OLED... just a regular 'ol OLED panel) is being provided by LG Display.
We should expect the first-gen Apple AR/MR headset to debut in the second half of 2023, while the second-gen Apple AR/MR headset should arrive sometime in 2025+.
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