Apple Planning 2022 Release of First AR Headset Followed by Smart Glasses in 2023

Looks like high-tech smart glasses will eventually replace the iPhone.

Concepts iPhone (video still)

In about ten years time, we can look forward to storing our high-dollar Apple devices on our faces rather than in our pockets. Well, it’s not that simple, but The Information (site requires subscription) reports the tech behemoth is aiming to supplant iPhones with smart glasses by 2023.

Before they even get that far, the same publication reports Apple is likely to release its own augmented-reality headset—think Oculus Quest, but by Apple. 

These aren’t just the rumors that have actually been swirling for years, as described in the Zone of Tech video above, but info reportedly from Apple sources. Execs in Cupertino have been discussing implementing VR headsets as recently as October in meetings led by Mike Rockwell, company veep in charge of AR and VR projects.

Upper management evidently believes these headsets will eventually replace smartphones. Prototypes certainly have been described as having enough bells and whistles to come close: They reportedly have high-res displays, cameras on the inside, and sensors designed to map the user’s immediate surroundings. 

Zone of Tech put together a render based on what’s known about these devices and they look like high-end sunglasses with thick frames. Another render done by the awkwardly named Concepts iPhone doesn’t look all that different, save for the color (try to ignore their mangled idea as to what kind of slogan Apple might use to advertise these specs). 

Apple, then, is dead serious about the next steps beyond these slabs of glass and metal in our pockets. There’s no word if they will even try the foldable route, which is quickly being populated by Phablets from the likes of their big competitor Samsung, not to mention Motorola’s reinvented folding screen clamshell razr

The upshot is we may well be heading into a handset-free world. And the next step beyond glasses is contact lenses for those of us who are vision-impaired, so who knows what the 2030s might hold.