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Apple Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo points to Apple using advanced Metalenses for their 2024 iPad FaceTime lens and future AR Glasses

1 cover metalensesReport Updated 04-14: Kuo adds Tidbit to his report

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is back with yet another research note this week, this time covering Apple's future use of a metalens in their 2024 iPad and then applied to their AR Glasses in and around the 2027 timeframe.  

The Summary of Kuo's Latest Surveys and Predictions

  • The supply chain is anticipated to start mass production of Apple’s metalens in 2024, which is expected to replace the iPad’s plastic lens of the Face ID Tx.
  • TSMC and VisEra are critical process suppliers for Apple’s metalens. Given metalens’ revenue and profit contributions, VisEra is the primary beneficiary.
  • Should the metalens for the iPad in 2024 successfully ship, iPhone Face ID will adopt metalens in 2025 or 2026 (the latter is more likely at present).
  • Metalens offers the advantages of lower cost and reduced height vs. existing plastic lenses.
  • Technically speaking, after Face ID Tx, metalens could replace current plastic lens applications in Face ID Rx or ToF Tx/Rx in the short term.
  • Factoring in the manufacturing process and algorithm progress, the earliest metalens could replace the lowest-end plastic lenses in existing cameras would be between 2028 and 2030. Metalens will not have any foreseeable impacts on the trend of existing plastic lens specification upgrades (e.g., upgrade from 7P to 8P, periscope, etc.). However, investors should be aware that over the next few years, metalens will gradually replace existing plastic lenses in 3D sensing applications.
  • Apple’s metalens development has three long-term strategic goals: (1) reduce reliance on existing plastic lenses; (2) leverage metalens’ technological and cost advantages for product design and sales; and (3) facilitate the extensive use of metalens in Apple Glasses (not AR/MR headsets) which will go to mass production in 2026 or 2027 at the earliest.
  • Glasses-type head-mounted display devices are the killer application for metalens. If glasses-type head-mounted display devices achieve success, metalens shipments can experience explosive growth.
  • Goertek is currently the global leader in metalens module and lamination/bonding mass production technology. If Apple can drive the trend of metalens applications, Goertek will be among the primary beneficiaries of this trend.


Kuo Tidbit

This isn't the first time Apple has considered the use of semiconductor-process lenses (metalens/wafer-level lens). In the past, during the iPod nano era, Apple considered adding a wafer-level lens camera to the iPod nano. VisEra was one of companies that worked with Apple to develop the wafer-level lens at that time. However, the plan was eventually abandoned due to technical constraints.


In researching what a metalens is, I found a good article from Radiant Vision System that VisEra recommended. The report notes that the last two years has seen a surge in scientific and fabrication breakthroughs that could soon usher in a new age of optical techniques and capabilities based on metalenses.

Metalenses are tiny optical elements that can manipulate electromagnetic waves (light)—just like traditional lenses—but are thinner than a sheet of paper. The technology is exciting to developers across many industries due to their small size, ease and cost-efficiency to manufacture at scale, and their potential to revolutionize multiple optical applications.

To walk you through the technology, read the full Radian Vision Systems report here.

Obviously this technology will be required to create thin lenses for AR glasses from Apple.

You could read another article titled "The advantages of metalenses over diffractive lenses," here. And finally, a video below from NIL Technology provides a broad overview of their Meta Optical Elements (Metalenses).

10.X2 - Ming-Chi Kuo Supply Chain News


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