A new licensing agreement between Apple manufacturer Quanta and augmented reality parts maker Lumus could potentially lay the framework for Apple's rumored AR headset.
Quanta will manufacture lenses for Lumus, but have the option to produce the parts for other technology companies, Lumus CEO Ari Grobman explained to Bloomberg. Quanta pumped a $45 million investment into Lumus in 2016.
"This means that the most expensive key enabling technology in the AR glasses teardown will now be affordably priced, effectively bringing down the overall cost of consumer AR glasses," Grobman commented. "Quanta has suggested that full AR headsets would be priced for less than the cost of a high-end cell phone. That's a big deal."
While the executive refused to say whether the partnership has any connection to Apple, AR headsets with Lumus technology are predicted to ship in 12 to 18 months.
In November Bloomberg claimed that Apple wants technology for a headset ready by 2019, ahead of a 2020 launch window. The device is allegedly codenamed "T288," and running software known as "rOS," short for "reality operating system."
For control the wearable could use a mix of Siri, head gestures, and/or an onboard touch panel. It's not yet clear whether the product might require an iPhone, like the Apple Watch, or run completely independently.
Quanting is aiming to have AR technology on the market by 2019, but could also fulfill that promise by collaborating on other AR platforms, such as Microsoft's Windows Mixed Reality.