Apple is among the few tech hardware giants that as still not embraced virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR) with a device. Yes, Cupertino has dabbled with some AR software but still no hardware.
That looks like it may change next year. According to long-time Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the company will release an AR headset during 2020. More specifically, the device is expected to be launched in the second quarter.
While Apple has been relatively quiet in terms of available mixed reality technology, the company has been reported plowing money into research and development. In other words, Cupertino has been taking the tech seriously even if consumers have not benefited yet.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about this news is that Apple is embracing AR and not VR. If your unfamiliar with the differences, VR places the user within an entirely virtual environment, whereas AR mixes virtual elements within the real-world environment.
Microsoft is the biggest company to throw its weight behind AR with its HoloLens headsets. Other OEMs like Samsung, HP, Dell, and ASUS followed with mixed reality headsets based on Windows Mixed Reality.
What makes Apple's apparent support of augmented reality is that most mobile companies have typically favored virtual reality. As such, Apple's device will not be standalone like HoloLens 2 but will be tethered to an iPhone or iPad. In other words, the headset itself will simply serve as the display.
Looking back at Microsoft, it remains something of a curio that the company has yet to embrace augmented reality on Xbox. That will likely change with the launch of Xbox Scarlett in 2020.