Apple Will Lead in AR, Analyst Says. Watch for Its Helmet, Glasses, and Contact Lenses. $AAPL – #stocks chatter

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Apple Will Lead in AR, Analyst Says. Watch for Its Helmet, Glasses, and Contact Lenses. $AAPL
Eric J. Savitz•📷Last Updated March 8, 2021, 11:06 AM

Over time, Apple has been a pioneer in the way humans work with computers. Although it isn't always at the head of the innovation curve, no company has had a more dramatic impact on the way humans and machines interact.

As TFI Asset Management analyst Ming-Chi Kuo pointed out in a research note released over the weekend, Apple popularized the mouse and graphical user interface for computers, the iPod click wheel, and multi-touch functionality for the iPhone and iPad. And he says Apple can lead the way in the next leap in computing interfaces: mixed and augmented reality.

"We believe that MR/AR will be the next critical technology to define the innovative human-machine interface for electronic products," Kuo wrote in the note. "We believe that MR/AR will provide innovative visual experiences and redefine human behavior in creating, processing, and receiving information, which is why Apple is highly committed to MR/AR. One of Apple's advantages is defining the innovative human-machine interface, so we are taking a positive view of Apple's future in MR/AR."

Kuo argued that in the long run, MR/AR interfaces will replace all display-equipped electronic products. Apple's strategy will unfold in three stages, he predicted.

He expects Apple to launch a helmet for virtual and augmented reality experiences by mid-2022. Kuo says the helmet will be equipped with Sony-built Micro-OLED displays and various optical modules to provide a "video see-through AR experience," but with the ability to offer virtual-reality experiences as well.

He thinks the price tag of the helmet will be similar to that of high-end iPhones, at about $1,000. Kuo expects the contract manufacturer Pegatron to produce the helmets.

"Although Apple has been focusing on AR, we think the hardware specifications of this product can provide an immersive experience that is significantly better than existing VR products," he wrote. "We believe that Apple may highly integrate this helmet with video-related applications (like Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, etc.) as one of the key selling points."

Kuo said Apple's second product in this category will be MR/AR glasses. He doesn't think Apple has an existing prototype, and wrote that the glasses won't reach the market before 2025, at the earliest. Kuo thinks the glasses will be more specifically intended for augmented reality applications. "We are looking forward to seeing the integration of glasses and Apple Car to provide an innovative user experience," he said.

Even farther out, in 2030 or later, he expects Apple to offer a contact-lens product with MR/AR capabilities. "This product will bring electronics from the era of "visible computing" to "invisible computing, " he said.

Apple as a matter of policy doesn't discuss unannounced products, and hasn't addressed any of these potential devices. The stock was down 1.9%, to $119.18 on Monday morning.

Write to Eric J. Savitz at eric.savitz@barrons.com

© 2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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