Apple could release augmented reality (AR) glasses by 2020, followed by its highly ambitious self-driving “Apple Car” three to five years after that, according to Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst at TF International Securities with an impressive track record for predicting Apple’s next moves and a regularly correct source for iPhone rumors.
In a research note seen by Mac Rumors, a website that aggregates Mac and Apple related news, rumors, and reports, Kuo claims Apple has plans to launch a self-driving car anywhere between 2023 and 2025. The company is expected to position the Apple Car as the ‘next star product’ and is said to revolutionize the automobile industry just like how the iPhone changed the smartphone world. Kuo believes the automobile market has “huge replacement demands” and Apple has a clear idea how with technology such as Augmented Reality would “redefine cars and differentiate Apple Car from peers’ products.”
“Services, AR, and Apple Car will create Apple’s next trillion-dollar market cap,” Kuo wrote in the research note.
Augmented reality, combining the digital and physical worlds through smartglasses, is going to become Apple’s next major user interface, he predicts, reported South China Morning Post.
“We predict that AR is the next-generation revolutionary UI; we therefore think that AR does not need any killer applications given it is a killer application already,” he wrote in the note.
“We expect Apple will redefine the UIs of existing products by offering an AR experience created by the AR glass, which will likely be launched in 2020,” he continued.
Currently, Apple employs hundreds of employees working on AR technology. Some work on Apple’s current augmented reality software for the iPhone, ARKit, which developers can use to easily create AR apps. Others are working on prototypes and other R&D projects. Bloomberg reported last year that Apple is working on a new chip and operating system for the device.
Other big companies are working on smartglasses as well. While Google’s Google glass wasn’t well-received at the time it was introduced in 2013, the company continues to develop the technology. Magic Leap, a start-up that has raised over US$2 billion in funding, started shipping its gaming and creativity-focused smartglasses earlier this month.
Kuo forecasts in his note that it is possible Apple will integrate services into the Apple Car, which could allow the company to enter into the car financing market.
Apple has a big car division, called Project Titan, and is currently running autonomous driving tests on California roads. However, the extent of its automotive ambitions was never revealed by the company.