Move over Macs… again.
computer line was long ago replaced by the iPhone as Apple’s main product. Even iPads overtook Mac sales in 2011. Now an analyst thinks the Mac’s importance could fall even further in five years’ time, when the still-not-announced Apple Glasses make up about 10% of sales. The thinking is that computing is getting more and more personal, ironically making the “personal computer” anachronistic.
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“We believe Apple sees the augmented-reality future as a combination of the iPhone and some form of wearable,” Loup Ventures analyst Gene Munster wrote Tuesday. He thinks that’s likely to mean a pair of glasses, which could show you something akin to your iPhone’s screen directly in front of your face, without obstructing your view of your natural surroundings. That makes AR quite different from virtual reality, which isolates you in a virtual world.
Munster believes Apple could launch the glasses in 2020. Initially, the glasses could cost $1,300 on average, Munster writes, which would limit adoption. But by 2022, he sees glasses making up 10% of revenue, up from 2% in 2020. For some context, Mac sales made up 11% of Apple’s revenue in the latest quarter.
Apple has plans to make augmented reality a key feature of its new mobile operating system long before 2020. It showed off some AR capabilities at the WWDC keynote earlier this month, when it also debuted its ARKit platform for software developers to create AR apps for iOS.
On Monday, MacRumors also reported that Apple had recently acquired SensoMotoric Instruments, a German company that makes “eye-tracking” technology, including glasses. Apple didn’t respond to our request for comment, but a spokesperson told Axios: “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”
If Apple does indeed come out with its own glasses, it won’t be the first big tech company to launch eyewear. Google debuted Google Glass in 2013, a product that was widely mocked and then never really discussed again. SensoMotorics’ glasses, meanwhile, aren’t much to look at (though Apple might have a contribution to make there). The question remains: How many people will want to wear a computer on their face, no matter the design?
Big Picture: An analyst predicts that augmented reality glasses will make up 10% of Apple’s sales in five years.