Ming-Chi Kuo: Pancake lenses are key to Apple's reality headsets

apple goggles pancake lenses

"Apple AR/MR shipments may reach 10 million units as soon as 2025 or 2026."

From "Apple AR/MR Headset Prediction Update: 2nd, Shipments, Schedule, and Pancake Lens Supply Chain" posted Sunday on Medium:

  1. The high ASP Pancake lens is the key optical component of Apple AR/MR, directly affecting the visual experience and form factor design.
  2. The second-generation Apple AR/MR may have high-end and more-affordable models, which will launch in 1H25, and component suppliers will start shipping in 2H24.
  3. Apple AR/MR shipments may reach 10 million units as soon as 2025 or 2026, thanks to the second-generation Apple AR/MR product segmentation strategy and ecosystem.
  4. The first-generation Apple AR/MR Pancake lens suppliers are Genius (main supplier) and Young Optics (second supplier). GIS is the Pancake lens lamination supplier. The above suppliers are expected to be in the second-generation supply chain.
  5. The first-generation Apple AR/MR will adopt two 3P Pancake modules (one for each eye). The total cost of the Pancake lenses is about $30–40 (USD), roughly equivalent to 20 high-end 7P lenses. It provides a new growth driver for Apple’s optical supply chain in the medium and long term. The cost of the second-generation Pancake lenses will likely increase to improve the visual experience and form factor design.
  6. Largan will likely be a new supplier of the Pancake lens for the second-generation Apple AR/MR headset and expand production capacity for this order in its new Taichung plant.

My take: Pancake lenses -- widely used in SLR cameras -- are assembled like stacks of pancakes in flat, thin layers. They don't come cheap.


  1. Greg Lippert said:
    He’s already predicting second gen on a product that has no been announced and has no 1st gen.

    Eye roll….

    July 11, 2022
  2. Fred Stein said:
    @greg and joseph,,,

    and been rumored for 1/2 a decade.

    July 11, 2022
  3. Kirk DeBernardi said:
    Biggest hurdle? It’s on your face.

    Pancake or otherwise.

    July 13, 2022

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