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มีรายงานว่าหูฟังแบบผสมผสานความเป็นจริงตัวแรกของ Apple จะวางจำหน่ายในกลางปี 2565

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Apple’s first step into virtual spaces might be a little more than a year away.

A new research note from top Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicts a “mid-2022” release for the company’s first mixed reality headset. Its release will also mark the kickoff of a new product line as Apple capitalizes on the still-emerging tech space around virtual reality and augmented reality devices.

“We predict that Apple’s MR/AR product roadmap includes three phases: helmet type by 2022, glasses type by 2025, and contact lens type by 2030–2040,” the note reads, via MacRumors. “We foresee that the helmet product will provide AR and VR experiences, while glasses and contact lens types of products are more likely to focus on AR applications.”

Kuo’s note offers the most detail on the would-be headset. The current prototype weighs in at around half a pound but the final weight should be closer to a quarter pound. The headset will sport micro-OLED displays and it will feature tech that will allow for both VR and AR experiences, though support for the latter will likely be limited.

Kuo describes the intended final product to be “portable,” and equipped with its own computing and storage hardware. So more like the wireless, self-contained experience offered by Oculus Quest than the wired, PC-dependent Oculus Rift.

The planned glasses (and, later, “contact lens” device) will focus more on delivering AR experiences. While the latter product is probably at least a decade away, the glasses could arrive around the same time as — and connect to — the rumored Apple Car.

None of this is confirmed of course, though Kuo is well known in the tech world for bringing earlier insights on Apple’s future plans. Even if the timing laid out here doesn’t line up exactly, it’s reasonable to speculate that the general progression is likely how Apple is looking at things, too.

It’s also notable that Kuo’s forecast comes on the heels of a January report that indicated Apple’s first VR headset — which is in development now, that report states — will be very expensive. Kuo new note suggests it’ll cost around US$1,000 in the United States. That’s more than double the cost of the Oculus Quest 2, which is perhaps the most popular wireless VR headset on the market right now.

In the years since 2012 Oculus crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter, VR (as well as its sibling, AR) has taken off in fits and starts. For every success story like Oculus, which was acquired by Facebook, there are any number of failed efforts. Remember Google Glass?

That said, Apple taking more concrete steps into the space is an indication that VR and AR both may soon be ready — from both an affordability standpoint and an accessible experience standpoint — from the mainstream audience primetime.

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