With Apple ramping up their hiring for augmented reality jobs in 2020 and 2021, it's increasingly clear the most famous tech hardware company in the world is setting their sights on AR being their next big computing platform. In the last 20 years, Apple has dominated aspects of consumer hardware, including desktop computers, laptop computers, portable audio, smartphones, & wearables. The Apple ecosystem is set to compete head on with the likes of Facebook and their very public Facebook Reality Labs, Niantic and partner Qualcomm, and companies like Snap, Microsoft, Amazon, & Google. Companies like Mojo are working on augmented reality contact lenses, and Humane is working on an AI heavy wearable with an audio component. Suffice to say, the landscape for immersive wearables and technology like augmented reality glasses & headsets will be the next great battleground for tech companies in the coming decade.
Ming-Chi Kuo, a highly respected and reliable Apple analyst, put out a report today predicting that Apple would release an "AR device" in 2021. There isn't a lot of detail on what exactly he means by AR device. It could possibly refer to Apple including more LiDAR technology in its iPhone 13 lineup, although that's pretty much guaranteed since the iPhone 12 lineup already includes LiDAR tech, so it wouldn't be much of a prediction. It makes more sense then that the AR device would be some sort of new hardware, possibly a standalone headset, or, more likely, an augmented reality enabled pair of glasses that works in tandem with an iPhone.
With Facebook partnering up with Ray-Ban and already having officially announced a pair of smart glasses in 2021, our money is on Apple doing the same and releasing their own AR enabled smart glasses in 2021, and going head-to-head for consumer adoption.