Analyst: Apple’s AR glasses will run Mac chips

Now Apple is expected to introduce the first generation of its AR / VR glasses in the fourth quarter of 2022, and a report from analyst Ming-chi Kuo tells us a bit more of what to expect from these things. If true, one day you will use your Mac as sunglasses.

To be fair, we’ve already heard a lot about this. We have known for years, for example, that Apple has been working with Sony in the lenses for These devices and we’ve become ad infinitely lyrical about what to expect once they ship.

We know they will be expensive and that Apple has a development roadmap that combines incremental hardware and software enhancements to advance this new family of products.

So what’s new and how could it relate to your business?

Kuo tells us this about the product:

  • Expect two processors, one with a Mac-equivalent chip and the other to handle sensor input.
  • It will be a standalone device, not an accessory; you won’t need a Mac or iPhone to use these things.
  • The headphone will use two Sony 4K micro-OLED displays.
  • It supports a variety of applications, rather than just specific applications.

What is really critical is the expected division of labor; Kuo says that the headphones will have a processor with the “same level of computing power as Mac, ”While another chip will take care of the“ sensor-related computing ”.

The additional chip is necessary because the sensors collect a lot of information that must be managed in real time. Kuo says the headset has “at least” six to eight optical modules to provide “seamless AR streaming video services.”

Is the market ready?

Apple is hitting the market at a positive point. Recent research commissioned by Wool & Water found that more than half of US consumers think AR / VR has improved in recent months and will play a bigger role in the future.

A recent Morgan Stanley Report He said: “Apple’s entry into the eyewear market will be a game changer for all participants as the technology normalizes and becomes popular. Apple has a long history of disrupting new markets and ultimately making grow the size of the addressable market well beyond initial expectations.

“The enormity of the technical challenge – packing a day’s battery, 5G, computing, cameras, LiDAR, projectors, and waveguide lenses into an attractive, lightweight pair of lenses – is hard to overstate,” they said. “But we are approaching takeoff.”

TO Deloitte report said something similar, but adds real world usage data:

  • Enterprise VR programs improve productivity by 32%;
  • AR is better than video in work environments, errors are reduced and problem solving is improved;
  • AR training produces a 75% learning retention rate. More than doubles the learning outcomes;
  • For learning in dangerous environments (such as firefighters), virtual reality is safer and less risky.

Apple also has a huge advantage in the way of its full control over Apple’s silicon. That means competitors will be challenged to develop their own processors or buy chips from companies like Qualcomm and MediaTek, which means that most in the space will not be able to deliver the kind of “full widget” experience inherent in Apple’s design. . We have seen that game play before.

So what is the long game?

Kuo believes Apple’s long-term plan is to replace iPhones with these things by selling a billion units over the next decade. I think it’s a dramatic sweep. Instead, I imagine Apple’s goal is less about replacement and more about coexistence. Given the power of the processors, it seems inevitable that Universal Control, for example, will allow you to switch the active display between Mac, iPad, and Apple Glass.

You can expect a variety of AR representations of computing experiences in space. With that in mind, it seems equally inevitable that enabling that perfect change in screen view can be controlled with a glance, as well as by keyboard, touch, pointer, swipe, gesture, or voice.

AirPlay support arguably means that everything you see on your Apple Glass screen can also be streamed to a nearby TV or Mac, meaning the computing experience becomes even more independent of the hardware you use to access it. The emergence of “Mac in the cloud” services brings a completely new use case.

What are the business implications?

I see this as a Mac that you have with you wherever you are.

Field service engineers, sales teams, C-class executives, or remote workers will have access to pervasive computing experiences. You can walk into an office, sit in front of a computer, and in seconds access the same computing environment you use elsewhere.

While traveling, you may be using voice, gestures, and eye tracking to play games or send an email, and no one knows you are wearing these glasses when you wear your memoji while making a FaceTime call. (The last feature will likely be an API that you can also access in Webex, Teams, or Zoom.)

The data on the use of these technologies in training also appears compelling, opening up opportunities in the human resources, education and staff training systems.

Favor and against

There will be resistance. I think most companies will be deeply suspicious of the idea of ​​employees wearing glasses equipped with always-on audio and video sensors.

Apple’s commitment to privacy and processing on the edge device, rather than in the cloud, will help here, but business impact will be limited until entrepreneurs have full confidence in the privacy and security of corporate data and processes. .

Facebook / Meta knows this too, so it is trying to pressure governments to regulate Apple’s privacy at their level. I hope it fails in that attempt.

[Also read: Why Apple’s AR glasses will transform your enterprise]

There will also be acceptance. Retail, medical, emergency services and law enforcement will be interested in exploring the potential of such devices.

There are many seemingly logical implementations in remote product support, exploration, and even agriculture. For the latter, think about how useful it could be for a farmer to be able to maintain a visual sense of the position of his cattle or the health of his land through the data stored and processed on these devices.

An iPhone, a Mac, an Internet communicator.

To be fair, we’ll see that business use cases start to emerge once the products do. But the expected price of these things means Apple will have to convince cash-strapped consumers after years of pandemic to take the magic leap.

For me, that means the most likely discourse will be around high-end experiences, sophisticated apps, accessibility, games, and cutting-edge use cases, particularly around healthcare.

It will be interesting to see how Apple exploits its mass market brand to convince consumers to invest in a new but supposedly expensive product line.

The phrase “an iPod, a phone, and an Internet communicator” comes to mind. The new Apple devices will be an iPhone, a Mac and a tool that unlocks your experience of the entire virtual and physical world, crossing geographic and language barriers and, at the same time, potentially enabling another revolution in accessible computing, at the same time. Geordi La Forge.

Simply put, one day you will wear your Mac like sunglasses.

All Kuo has done is make reality sound more official. And don’t forget: the processing power required to handle all the data collected by the many sensors in these glasses is similar to the extensive processing required to manage all the incoming data when building an autonomous car.

All of this now runs on Apple Silicon, giving Apple an immediate edge in any industry, as long as it stays on the cutting edge of chip development.

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Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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