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The Apple logo is pictured at its flagship retail store in San Francisco, California 24 January 2014 Robert Galbraith/Reuters

Apple is reportedly planning to launch its first augmented reality headset in 2022. This will be followed by the release of a smaller device, a pair of AR glasses in 2023. This will be in a move to directly compete with the likes of other tech giants Google and Microsoft, who have are already trying to explore this space for quite some time now.

Apple's introduction of an augmented reality headset will allow users to place digital content on top of the real world, while the glasses that will be launched a year later will be a smaller version but will be able to do the same thing. This definitely will heat up the race to get to the point wherein augmented reality can fit into a much smaller space that can be worn like small glasses instead of an alternate like heavier headset.

The iPhone maker's entry into the augmented reality space has long been rumored. However, an exact time of entry is still under speculation, with experts and analysts having been predicted that it could be well in 2020. If new reports are to be believed, then Apple will be a couple of years late given that the company is known for introducing its products only after it is self assured about their success. Augmented reality is being touted as the next big thing, with expectations that it will be a major computing platform that will in the future replace televisions, phones and computer screens.

Apple trying to explore AR space

Augmented reality is a space that Apple has been long trying to explore but has been facing difficulties. Reportedly, Apple's AR headset, codenamed N301 has stark resemblance to Oculus Quest, a virtual reality headset released in May. However, N301 will be a slimmer version.

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The headset apparently has AR and VR capabilities and also uses external cameras to map the user's surroundings. Moreover, it uses a high-resolution display to show information in the user's surroundings and blend virtual objects with the real world.

Google parent Alphabet already has Google Glass which has the capability of displaying information in front of a user on a small screen. Also, Microsoft's HoloLens and Magic Leap uses augmented reality but the devices are a lot bulkier. Apple's product on the other hand will not only be lighter and sleeker but also will allow much more complex information displaying things like games or objects in the world around a user.