Late last year, Apple executives reportedly disclosed during an internal meeting that the company was planning to release an augmented reality (AR) headset in 2022 and then AR glasses in 2023. Now, a new report from The Information appears to corroborate that claim and says Apple has begun the trial production of lenses that will be used for augmented reality devices (via 9to5Mac).
According to the report, the Cupertino-based tech giant approved prototypes of the AR lens two months ago and is now working with Foxconn Technology to build thousands of units at its Chengdu factory in the southwest part of China. This is after the semitransparent lens reportedly entered the Engineering Validation Test phase. At this stage, the product’s design was locked down, with the trial units being tested to check whether these were ready for mass production.
The report also noted that producing the lens was particularly challenging due to its complex materials. These include “extremely thin layers of different synthetic materials, each of which is susceptible to bubbles, scratches and other marks”, thus requiring a dust-free area for production. In addition, the lens is said to be polarized to offer stereoscopic images and is slightly larger than typical spectacles. However, the product won’t reportedly hit mass production until after one to two years at least.