Apple industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says Apple’s much-rumored mixed reality headset is still on track for a 2022 debut.
Kuo earlier this year said Apple is planning to use a hybrid Fresnel lens design for its mixed reality headset, which would improve optical performance while also allowing for a broad field of view. The move would also keep the weight of the new headset at under 150 grams (around a third of a pound).
Most virtual reality headsets employ Fresnel lenses to enable ultra-short focal lengths. Unfortunately, the technology, which was first used around 200 years ago to focus lighthouse beams, results in bulky headsets typically weighing in at 300-400 grams or more.
Mixed-reality headsets, such as the one said to be under development by Apple, can be thinner and lighter, as the lenses can be simpler with a smaller field of view (FOV) due to the less immersive experience compared to true virtual reality.
Kuo says Apple is attempting to use a hybrid Fresnel lens composed of three stacked Fresnel lenses to achieve a thin and light design providing enhanced optical performance.
Kuo says each headset uses a total of six Fresnel lenses (one stack of three per eye), using lightweight plastic lenses with customized materials and coatings to match the light transmission of glass.
Apple will kick off its Worldwide Developers Conference on June 7, with a keynote address where it will announce updates to all of its operating systems, and possibly new hardware and accessories. Perhaps we’ll get a preview of the headset then.