With less than a quarter away from the end of the year, we are intrigued to see how Apple (AAPL) rings in 2020. I don’t expect the iPhone maker to disappoint. Noted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of TF International Securities revealed that Apple’s augmented reality headsets are slated for an early 2020 launch. The headset could enter mass production in Q4 2019.
In a March research note, Kuo mentioned that Apple would manufacture the AR headsets between Q4 2019 and Q2 2020. In July, Digitimes Taiwan reported that the development of Apple’s AR/VR headset had been suspended. It also stated that the team had been disbanded and deployed on other projects. However, it seems that Apple’s AR headsets could soon be a reality.
AR headsets could be launched as an iPhone accessory
Augmented reality (or AR) headsets are devices that enable users to apply digital information to the physical world. However, they haven’t been too popular with consumers because of their design, functionality, and pricing.
Kuo noted that Apple would coordinate with third-party brands to launch its first head-mounted AR product. According to the analyst, the AR glasses would act as an iPhone accessory. The iPhone would provide the primary processing power for the AR headset, and it would drive the experience behind the AR glasses.
In 2017, Bloomberg had also predicted the launch of AR glasses in 2020. However, it differed in the specs. Bloomberg noted that the AR headset would have its graphics and function on a new operating system.
Kuo stated that that the AR glasses would only have a display, camera sensors, and wireless connectivity electronics. This change could have been made to keep the smart glasses light and sleek in design. Apple understands that consumers had previously rejected smart glasses because they were too bulky.
Apple has yet to announce its official launch date for its smart glasses. However, going by Kuo’s forecast, the AR headset could hit the market before Facebook’s (FB) smart glasses.
Facebook plans to commence production between 2023 and 2025. On the other hand, Amazon (AMZN) plans to sell its Echo frames by invitation in limited quantities. Presently, Amazon’s smart glasses do not feature AR capabilities.
iPhone SE2 and 5G iPhone waiting in the wings
In his previous research note, Kuo stated that the iPhone SE2 could also see the light of the day in early 2020. The iPhone SE2 will retain the iPhone 8’s 4.7-inch screen. On the computing front, the A13 bionic chip and the 3GB LPDDR4X memory would power it. Kuo is confident that the iPhone SE2 will have a 5G network and an affordable price point. He expects the iPhone SE2 shipments to reach 30 million–40 million units in 2020.
The analyst reiterated that Apple would launch a 5G iPhone by the third quarter of 2020. There have been mixed reactions by analysts about the 5G impact on iPhones.
Last month, Jefferies analyst Kyle McNealy stated that Wall Street underestimates the impact of 5G iPhones on Apple. He is upbeat about the 5G iPhones and expects 208 million 5G devices to be shipped in 2021.
However, Goldman Sachs isn’t too excited about the 5G. Rod Hall, an analyst at Goldman Sachs, opined that consumers wouldn’t notice an improvement in their phones when using 5G models.
iPad Pro and another MacBook to see a 2020 launch?
In his research note, Kuo indicated that Apple could also release its new iPad Pro in the first quarter of 2020. He also stated that a new MacBook could also hit the shelves during the same period.
However, Kuo doesn’t mention the details of the iPad Pro or the MacBook. In his previous report, he stated that in 2020, the MacBook butterfly keyboards would be replaced with scissor-switch keyboards.
Is an October event likely for Apple?
With so many devices lined up for early 2020, Apple could make an official announcement before the year ends. Joe Rossignol, editor of MacRumors, tweeted on October 9, “If the Apple Headset ships in the second quarter of 2020, as Kuo says, there is a good chance it could be announced at an October event. Apple has a track record of months-early announcements for new product categories, including the original iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, HomePod…”
Canaccord bullish on Apple stock
Apple stock has gained 44% in 2019 through Friday’s closing. On October 9, the stock rose more than 1% after Canaccord analysts raised the price target on the stock to $260 from $240. The firm’s analysts are bullish on the stock amid “stronger than anticipated initial sales” for the iPhone 11.