Apple is preparing for big changes in 2022.

James Martin / CNET

Get ready for the hype train, as it prepares to leave Cupertino (again).

Next year is shaping up to be a busy one for Apple, if rumors are to be believed, filled with new tech that could be on par with times like the first Macintosh in 1984, the first iMac in 1999 or the iPhone in 2007. .

This time, the key element will expand Apple into new territory: AR / VR glasses.

This project, one of Apple’s most ambitious in years, would encompass augmented reality and virtual reality. Augmented reality superimposes computer information on real-world images, while virtual reality places a screen so close to your eyes that your brain is tricked into thinking you’ve been transported to a computer-generated world. It’s like the difference between Microsoft’s $ 3,500 HoloLens and Meta’s $ 299 Quest. HoloLens is used to assist field technicians share information while they perform inspections and repairs at oil giant Chevron. Quest, meanwhile, is known for its successful immersive games and experiences, such as the Superhot time-consuming puzzle game and the action game Star Wars: Immortal Vader.

Most of the leaks and rumors have centered around the headset’s specs, such as its super-fast wireless networking and the super detailed visuals, a source told CNET she should have. But there are still many questions surrounding Apple’s headset, starting with its name – perhaps iGlass?

Its release date is also a mystery. It was said at one point that it would be scheduled for 2020 but now has been pushed back to next year, according to sources who talked to Bloomberg and other analysts. And we still don’t know what using iGlass will look like and whether it will be sold as an accessory, like the Apple Watch and AirPods.

Analysts and industry experts say Apple’s sleek software, combined with the App Store and online services like the music streamer Spotify, helps the company stay ahead of the competition.

“The reason everyone always looks to Apple is, yes, there is the well-designed hardware, but there is also the power of the application ecosystem,” said Carolina Milanesi, analyst. at Creative Strategies.

Read more: Smart glasses could arrive in 2022, but will still need a lot of work

As if releasing a new product line wasn’t enough, Apple probably has other major updates in its pipeline as well. The company is reportedly working on next-generation chips for its Mac computers, a much-anticipated redesign of its popular MacBook Air and Mac Pro professional desktop and a new look for an upcoming iPhone 14 also.

But it’s likely to be the iGlass that garners the most attention as one of the company’s biggest product launches in years. Apple’s success with the new products is largely due to their connection to the iPhone, analysts said, noting that the iPad tablet benefited from the existing App Store when it arrived in 2010. Additionally, the Apple Watch and AirPods were being sold as iPhone accessories when they went out. on sale in 2015 and 2016.


Taking a look at Apple’s existing wearable devices could indicate where the Apple glasses are headed.

Scott Stein / CNET

The iGlass will likely spark a lot of questions about the future of virtual reality and augmented reality and how it will fit into our lives. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has invested billions of dollars in his Reality Labs efforts, like headset company Oculus VR he bought up to $ 3 billion in 2014. That effort is still there, but the industry is littered with high-profile startups like Magic Leap, including eagerly awaited AR glasses struggled so much after launching in 2018 that two years later, in 2020, the company announced layoffs and its founding CEO has resigned.

The iGlass will mean more to Apple than trying out a new product category. Many analysts and executives believe the tech on the head will reshape the tech industry when it does eventually take hold. And for Apple, which relies on the iPhone for roughly half of its revenue, iGlass may finally answer the question of whether Apple can find the next big thing.

“I wouldn’t look at Apple so much with the hardware, but what’s the software ecosystem? ” noted Joost van dreunen, professor at the NYU Stern School of Business and author of the book One Up: Creativity, Competition, and the Global Business of Video Games. Longtime skeptics of the VR world, van Dreunen said attending Zoom’s funeral and children’s birthdays in the world-building game Roblox has started to change his mind. And, he noted, Apple has been known to convince app developers to get involved in the next big thing. “If anyone can do it, it’s Apple.”

Coronavirus phone

The coronavirus has changed lives around the world.

James Martin / CNET

Coronavirus question mark

Apple doesn’t just have to worry about competitors like Zuckerberg when it comes to the iGlass. If it sticks to a launch next year, it will do so amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The virus has wreaked havoc around the world, killing more than 5.3 million people.

One of the industries hardest hit has been global trade, with manufacturers struggling to keep enough people working in factories and shipping facilities to make enough products for all of us. Even Apple, which appeared to avoid the widespread supply shortages that plagued much of the tech industry last year, said it couldn’t do enough chips for its iPhones and iPads to meet the demand this holiday season.

“It’s hard to predict COVID,” Apple CEO Tim Cook told analysts on an earnings conference call in October. He also said supply constraints amounted to $ 6 billion in lost sales at a time when demand for his company’s products was at an all time high. But he said Apple was still in a “materially better” position than it was earlier in the pandemic.

Yet the COVID-19 pandemic could have impacts well beyond the supply chain. According to economists, his arrival also accelerated significant changes in our work culture, pushing aging baby boomers into retirement at a faster rate than ever before, while prompting employees to demand more flexible work options. This sparked a debate at Apple.

Employees at the tech giant have taken an unusual step this year, speaking publicly about how Apple’s super-secret work culture is unwittingly ruining some people’s lives. Employees spoke of both a sometimes toxic work environment and the ruthless expectations placed on those caring for families amid the pandemic. Many employees have reportedly requested to remain mostly at bay, going so far as to sign several open letters to Cook. The management of the company, meanwhile, argued that employees should return to the office as soon as it is safe.

“For all that we have been able to accomplish while many of us have been apart, the truth is that something essential has been missing over the past year: each other,” Cook wrote. in the email. sent to staff this summer. “Video conferencing has cut the distance between us, sure, but there are things it just can’t duplicate.”

The debate has still not been resolved, although the stalemate has been somewhat swept aside by a resurgence of COVID. The omicron variant, that emerged this fall, has spread so quickly across the world that Apple has indefinitely postpone plans to return to power.

iPhone 13 Pro, sierra blue

Apple’s iPhone 13 received positive reviews after its launch this fall, especially for its battery life.

Stephen Shankland / CNET

Next steps

Other Apple products slated for the year include a redesigned iPhone 14, which would ultimately be lose its sensor notch by the earpiece. Apple narrowed it down with the iPhone 13 but still relied on the cutout for its Face ID sensors and front camera.

Apple is also expected to introduce new Mac computers, powered by updated iterations of the M series chips designed by the team that also makes the microprocessor brains that have powered iPhones and iPads for the past decade. So far, Apple’s M1, M1 Pro, and M1 Max chips, each designed to replace competing technology manufactured by Intel, have been well received.

When CNET reviewer Dan Ackerman tested Apple’s latest Mac laptops in October and used them to edit large video files together, he found they completed tasks in less than half the time of their predecessors. “You can see a real difference in performance there,” he said.

MacBook Pro 2021

Apple’s redesigned MacBook Pros have been praised by reviewers for their fast chips, better battery life, and added plug-in ports.

Dan Ackerman / CNET

Now that Apple has proven that it can make M-series chips competitive, its next challenge will be delivering meaningful upgrades over the next two years. “Apple has caused a lot of heckling, fear and concern among traditional tech players,” said Bob O’Donnell, analyst at Technalysis Research. “Keeping up that excitement is more difficult. “

After Apple added its desktop M1 chip to the iPad Pro last year, O’Donnell wondered where the tech giant plans to use its latest chips, possibly even in the upcoming iGlass. .

“It suggests that they are thinking differently about it,” he said.