Apple’s AR headphones could have a ‘pancake’ lens and arrive in late 2022.

Apple’s first mixed-reality headphones will feature “pancake” lenses that allow for a lighter and more compact design, according to a new report. The device is still on its way to debut in late 2022, despite early production delays.

However, it is believed that the headphones – which are expected to offer both augmented and virtual reality – will be insufficient at first. Availability is expected to increase significantly in early 2023.

Apple’s first mixed-reality headphones are coming this year

We’ve been waiting for years for Apple to dip its fingers into mixed-reality hardware. It has long been pushing augmented reality on the iPhone and iPad through its ever-improving ARKit platform, but the first Apple headphones have yet to materialize.

Reliable sources are increasingly certain, however, that 2022 will be the year when Apple’s first mixed-reality device finally arrives. But according to TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuou, it will initially be in short supply.

In a research note he saw Cult Maca, Kuo says that “significant deliveries” of Apple’s first headphones for mixed reality will not be until the beginning of 2023, which suggests that it will be difficult to get them when it debuts.

This is thanks to early manufacturing problems – including persistent supply constraints affecting most manufacturers in the technology industry – that have prevented Apple headphones from arriving even earlier.

‘Pancake’ lenses for compact design

Kuo also said in today’s note that Apple’s device will use “3P pancake” lenses, supplied by Genius and Young Optics, to make the overall design lighter and more compact. Cupertino intends to avoid bulky headphones like his rivals.

Pancake lenses contain several glass sheets that are tightly packed together to reduce the overall size of the package. They are already popular with mirrorless and DSLR photographers who don’t want to wear large lenses.

Although pancake lenses are not as versatile as other non-zoom lenses, they are smaller and more affordable, and their small flaws are likely to be irrelevant in augmented and virtual reality applications.

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Naveen Kumar

Friendly communicator. Music maven. Explorer. Pop culture trailblazer. Social media practitioner.

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