Following a November 2017 report from Bloomberg calling for an Apple augmented reality headset featuring a custom OS and chips, a revered analyst thinks it will enter mass production in the fourth quarter of this year ahead of launch in the second quarter of 2020.

Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, via Economic Daily News, wrote in today’s report to clients that a head-mounted augmented reality device would basically act as a lightweight display requiring an iPhone to do much of the heavy-lifting in terms of augmented reality computations, positioning, networking, location services and so forth.

Curiously, Quanta Computer’s vice chairman told Nikei Assian Review a little more than a year ago that an Apple headset was in the works and that it would have a fully transparent lens so users could see through and interact with the environment.

A “headset-like” device from Apple would be coming no later than 2019, he added.

Last April, CNET claimed that an Apple headset is a standalone device. That report called for a futuristic gizmo with dual 8K displays capable of both virtual and augmented reality and not requiring any kind of tether to a Mac or an iPhone.

Apple probably did explore a standalone headset at some point.

The company might have concluded that packing everything inside a head-mounted device, including the chips and the batteries, resulted in a bulkier, heavier accessory that customers would probably not be willing to wear for prolonged periods of time.

If that’s the case, then an Apple headset may indeed launch as an iPhone accessory. But as soon as the technology catches up, we can expect a standalone edition akin to the Oculus Go.

Apple’s boss Tim Cook hinted as much in a recent interview, saying that the technology itself doesn’t currently exist to engineer such a product in a quality way.

“We don’t give a rats about being first, we want to be best in creating people’s experiences,” he said. “Something that you would see out in the market any time soon would not be something that any of us would be satisfied with.”

Would you consider an Apple-branded AR headset?

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