Are Apple Glasses Coming in 2026? Here’s What We Know

Apple Glass Concept Renders iDrop News 1000x600 6 Credit: iDrop News / Wilson Nicklaus
Text Size
- +

Toggle Dark Mode

As Apple’s “Reality Pro” AR/VR headset seemingly becomes closer to actual reality, it may be easy to forget that the earliest rumors pointed to a considerably more ambitious undertaking: a lightweight set of spectacles that could beam information directly into your eyeballs.

While most industry watchers have been pretty quiet in recent years about these so-called Apple Glasses, well-known analyst Ming-Chi Kuo broke the silence this week when he speculated that Apple Glasses could go into mass production in 2026 or 2027.

However, before we get too excited, it’s important to read what Kuo said carefully; the key phrase in Kuo’s statement is “at the earliest.” Kuo’s report is primarily about Apple’s work with new “metalens” technology that could someday replace the traditional plastic lenses currently used for cameras and sensors in most smartphones and tablets, including the iPhone and iPad. These flat, adjustable lenses can change focus, refract and reflect light, and more in a design that’s thinner than a sheet of paper. It’s easy to see how this technology would be a key component of Apple Glasses, but that’s not even Kuo’s main point here.

In other words, there’s no way Apple will produce a set of Apple Glasses before 2026 or 2027, but that’s not a big revelation to anybody who’s been paying attention.

After all, it’s taken Apple at least half a decade to create a full-sized wearable mixed-reality headset — and that’s expected to carry a $3,000+ price tag. By all reports, it’s nearly ready and might be unveiled at June’s Worldwide Developers Conference, with the most optimistic estimates suggesting it could ship by the end of the year. It’s amusing in retrospect that Apple’s headset was once pegged for a 2019 launch.

Futuristic technologies like Apple Glasses may look very cool and easy to do in concept videos, but it’s much harder to actually create the products that work the way they’re envisioned.

Apple AR Headset Running 'rOS' Rumored for 2019 Launch

Rumors of Apple Glass aren’t without a foundation. Apple has a great deal of vision with deep enough pockets to bring it to reality. There’s little doubt that teams of engineers and designers are hard at work within the deep recesses of Apple Park to create Apple Glass, but the technology needed to pull off the product Apple wants to create isn’t nearly ready for prime time yet.

Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman echoed this in 2021 when he reported that Apple Glasses — a product that’s commonly believed to be codenamed N421 within Apple’s walls — was only in the very preliminary “architecture” stage. That’s the point at which Apple is researching the underlying technologies and isn’t anywhere close to a prototype device.

By all reports, Apple faced numerous challenges in packing the necessary technology into its Reality Pro headset — and that’s expected to be at least ten times the size and weight of a pair of eyeglasses. Despite some really far-out rumors, unless Apple has suddenly gotten its hands on some advanced alien technology, it’s hard to believe it’s going to be able to pull off Apple Glass quite that soon. Even Kuo’s optimistic 2026–27 timeframe contrasts with his prediction that the new metalenses won’t be ready for use in iPhone front cameras until sometime between 2028 and 2030.

Metalenses are a great example of how Apple needs to wait for new technology to fulfill some of its most far-reaching ambitions — and Apple has no shortage of those. In 2021, Kuo shared a prediction on what could be one of Apple’s biggest moonshots: augmented reality contact lenses. While metalenses are a critical component for such an idea, we’re still a long way away from being able to embed all the other necessary electronics into something the size of a contact lens. Still, we’ll likely get there someday, and Apple is undoubtedly taking steps to make sure it’s ready when that time comes.

[The information provided in this article has NOT been confirmed by Apple and may be speculation. Provided details may not be factual. Take all rumors, tech or otherwise, with a grain of salt.]

Social Sharing