Augmented reality, or AR, is the next computing platform, and Apple, Inc. AAPL and Alphabet, Inc. GOOGL GOOG are the leaders in that mission, Loup Funds co-founder Gene Munster said in a note.
Google’s AR Glasses: Google previewed its AR glasses at its I/O 2022, but did not announce the timing of availability, Munster said. The analyst expects it to be available by 2024.
Google’s AR glasses preview highlighted an AR implementation of Google Translate, providing subtitles to one’s experience of the world, the analyst noted. This isn’t surprising, given that real-time translation has been an anticipated use case of an AR wearable, he added.
Privacy would be the biggest challenge with Google’s AR Glasses, the analyst said, basing his deduction on the privacy concerns with Google Glass, which the company announced a decade ago.
Google, through its 2020 acquisition of smart eyeglass maker North, has built retinal projection technology that features 2D elements floating a meter before the eyes, the analyst said. The company has acquired other AR tech as well, he added.
The analyst estimates that Google’s R&D spending on AR is around $39 billion.
Apple MR Glasses: For Apple, AR is lower in priority than auto but higher than healthcare, Munster said. The company, however, will be one of the two most meaningful contributors to AR hardware, along with Google, he added.
Chief executive officer Tim Cook’s AR use-case vision, the analyst noted that, includes education, entertainment, interactive gaming, enterprise, among others.
The analyst said Apple will likely release its MR headset in 2023 or 2024, followed by the Apple Glass in 2026.
As far as privacy is concerned, Apple has cleverly opted for LiDAR sensors, instead of camera, the analyst said. This will allow environmental awareness without becoming an invasion of privacy, he added.
Apple has filed over 59 patents related to in-air gestures and other patents related to a spatial 3D audio engine to enhance virtual reality gaming, Munster said. The analyst also noted that the company has filed for the patenting of a feature referred to as “optical subassembly,” which would perfect impaired vision, allowing the AR device to take the place of prescription lenses.
Munster expects Apple’s MR headset to be priced around $3,000, making it only reasonable for tech geeks and early tech adopters.
“Mainstream adoption will need a sub $1,000 price and more features to convince people to wear these devices in their daily lives,” he added.
Apple may be spending around $26 billion for AR R&D, the analyst said.
Apple closed Friday’s session up 3.19% at $147.11, according to Benzinga Pro data. Google parent Alphabet ended 2.96% higher at $2,330.31.
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