Apple MR headset
Concept render of Apple’s upcoming Mixed Reality headset (Image: Antonio De Rosa)

Apple is reportedly working on a Mixed Reality headset that could come with some impressive hardware and capabilities such as 15 camera modules, advanced eye-tracking technology, and micro-LED displays with an eye-popping 8K resolution. TF International Securities Ming-Chi Kuo recently predicted that despite the aforementioned hardware, the Apple headset could weigh under 200 grams. Now, another research note by Kuo that was accessed by Macrumors and 9to5Mac mentions that the upcoming Mixed Reality headset by Apple could tip the scale at less than 150 grams.

The purpose of this design is to improve FOV and reduce weight and thickness. We believe that Apple will use a hybrid Fresnel lens design further to enhance the Fresnel lens’s optical performance (e.g., improve vignetting and optical artifacts), and each hybrid Fresnel lens comprises three stacked Fresnel lenses. We believe that Apple’s design will achieve a better balance between HMD’s FOV and form factor.
via Macrumors

For comparison, the iPhone 12 weighs 164 grams. However, if you compare it against another well-known Mixed Reality headset that is already in the market, the featherweight nature of Apple’s upcoming device becomes apparent. Take for example the Microsoft HoloLens 2 Mixed Reality headset, which tips the scales at 566 grams. Moving over to the world of virtual reality headsets, the Oculus Quest 2 weighs 503 grams.

apple mixed reality headset the information
A drawing by The Information depicting Apple’s upcoming Mixed Reality headset

Apple is reportedly going with lenses made of plastic, instead of glass, to shed weight

To shed weight, Apple is reportedly going with hybrid ultra-short focal length Fresnel lenses that are not only thinner and lighter, but also offer a wider field of view. Additionally, the lenses will be made of plastic, instead of glass, to further cut down on the bulk. And to achieve the light transmission coefficient of glass, Apple will apply a layer of customized material on the lenses.

For video-see-through AR HMDs and VR HMDs, the critical design trend is to achieve a thin and light design with an ultra-short focal length lens/Fresnel lens. The design challenge is also related to the display, optical material, thermal, and production. We believe that solving this complicated optical design is one of the major competitive advantages of video-see-through AR HMDs and in the future.
via 9to5Mac

Apple is reportedly sourcing these lenses from Young Optics and Genius Electronic Optical. However, a majority of lenses will be provided by long-time supplier Largan. Each headset is said to employ as many as six Fresnel lenses, with three lenses stacked on top of each other for each eye. Apple’s Mixed Reality headset will reportedly be priced somewhere around $1,000, much lower than the competition. The company also has AR glasses in the pipeline that will likely debut in 2025, as per Kuo.

I’ve been writing about consumer technology for over three years now, having worked with names such as NDTV and Beebom in the past. Aside from covering the latest news, I’ve reviewed my fair share of devices ranging from smartphones and laptops to smart home devices. I also have interviewed tech execs and appeared as a host in YouTube videos talking about the latest and greatest gadgets out there.

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