Ming-Chi Kuo continues his stream of reporting on the supply chain for the upcoming Apple headset device, which is expected to feature a combination of augmented reality and virtual reality features. The user is expected to put on the headset and look at ultra-high-resolution OLED displays, one for each eye, which will show a camera feed of the world around them and render virtual environments atop it.
However, such capabilities mean the CPU and GPU demands of the device are high, and that equates to higher power draw. In fact, Kuo says Apple will ship the headset with a 96 watt power charger, the same one that comes with the 14-inch MacBook Pro.
This matches previous Kuo reports that predicted the headset would feature Mac-class Apple Silicon performance. Although you can’t draw a direct line here, the 14-inch MacBook Pro that comes with the 96-watt charger features a M1 Pro chip, a 10-core CPU and a 16-core GPU. You can expect the headset to be in that ballpark, probably with an even beefier Neural Engine for fast image analysis.
It goes without saying that these specs are significantly higher than what you can find in an iPhone or even an iPad form factor. The onboard battery will have to be large, which contributes to the weight of the headset. It’s also more evidence that the product will only have a few hours of battery life; Bloomberg previously reported that Apple does not intend to position the product as an all-day device.
The first iteration of the Apple headset is expected to be high-spec but very expensive, with most reports placing the device in the $1000+ price point, and one suggestion as high as $3000. Some have suggested the first-generation headset will mostly be marketed as a developer kit device.
Kuo expects annual shipments in the 3 million range for 2023, rising to 15 million by 2025. Kuo expects a second-generation headset to arrive in the 2024 timeframe, which will be both lighter and less expensive to buy. (Long term, Apple wants to create an ergonomic, affordable, pair of wearable AR glasses — but a manifestation of this appealing form factor is still several years away due to technological constraints.)
We still have a few months to wait though to see Apple officially unveil its new product category. Most analysts expect the company to preview the headset at either WWDC in June, or a special media event in the fall, with deliveries starting in late 2022 or early 2023.
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