Kuo: An Apple headset sequel in 2025 will be more affordable than the first one

Apple hasn’t even released its inaugural mixed-reality headset yet already some people are calling for a more affordable second-generation model as soon as 2025.

A photograph showing an aerial view oof the Apple Park headquarters
Image credit: Apple
  • Super-reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says the original Apple headset, which has been delayed into 2023, will be followed by a cheaper version in 2025.
  • This more affordable headset should be the product’s iPhone SE moment. The first headset will be a $2,000 accessory aimed at developers and early adopters.
  • Apple’s second-generation augmented reality (AR) or mixed reality (MR) device should drop in the second half of 2024, according to the analyst.

A more affordable Apple headset may arrive in 2025

Writing on Medium, Ming-Chi Kuo says Apple will produce several headsets with different price points and features. “The second-generation Apple AR/VR headset may have high-end and more-affordable models,” Kuo writes. Component suppliers should begin shipping parts to Apple in the second half of 2024, in time for mass production and a launch sometime in the second half of 2025. The first headset was supposed to come out in 2022 but was delayed into the first half of 2023. Previous reports have indicated that the first headset should be priced around $2,000.

Rivals like Meta are also expected to release multiple AR and MR products. Kuo predicts Apple’s AR/MR shipments will hit 10 million devices as soon as 2025 or 2026. That’s an impressive number which is roughly on par with first-year sales of the original iPhone. Apple will be able to hit those numbers thanks to “the second-generation Apple AR/MR product segmentation strategy and ecosystem.”

Apple Ar/MR headset to use the Pancake lens?

Kuo says that Largan will be a new supplier of the Pancake lens for the second-generation Apple AR/MR headset. This isn’t the first time Kuo mentioned Pancake lenses and an Apple headset in the same breath. Back in January 2022, Kuo warned that “the high ASP Pancake lens is the key optical component of Apple AR/MR, directly affecting the visual experience and form factor design.”

There should be two 3P Pancake modules—one for each eye—in the first headset. Another report says Samsung Display may build micro-OLED panels for the device’s head-mounted display. Kuo pegs the total cost of these lenses at about $30–40, which he says is roughly equivalent to twenty units of high-end 7P lenses. The Pancake lens, he explains, is the “key optical component affecting the visual experience and form factor design.” Genius will be the main Pancake lens supplier, with Young Optics also getting in one some of the action, Kuo predicts.

Why is Kuo suddenly tweeting?

Kuo is the most reliable Apple analyst with sources deeply entrenched in Apple’s supply chain, letting him accurately predict the company’s next moves even if his timeframes can be a bit off. Interestingly, Kuo has published this particular prediction on his Medium blog instead of the website of TF International Securities, a research firm he was associated with: His last TF International Securities investor note was published in March 2022. Read: How to chat live with Apple support