Apple’s augmented reality (AR) glasses have hit the concept development stage and are expected to reach the prototype stage by the end of this year. The spectacles speculated to be named the Apple AR Glass are expected to launch in 2024. When customers eventually grasp this technology and understand the different types of augmented reality glasses and their functioning, the market will be flooded with a plethora of AR items to pick from.
The Apple AR glasses will supposedly offer a similar style to prescription eyewear and will focus entirely on augmented reality. The post doesn’t go quite into discussing Apple’s anticipated AR glasses.
The glasses are believed to resemble typical eyeglasses, with both lenses incorporating displays that can be operated with gestures. Apple will sell the spectacles with no prescription lenses for a possible beginning price of $499, with prescription lenses available at an extra fee.
The glasses are in the early stages of development, much earlier than Apple’s AR/VR headgear. The spectacles are said to be “many years away.”
For its anticipated augmented reality spectacles, Apple is said to be aiming to employ “cutting edge” OLED microdisplays provided by Sony. Sony’s OLED microdisplays have a high reaction rate, high contrast, a broad color gamut, high brightness, low reflectivity, and integrated drivers enabling a small and light design. The glasses are reported to have a 0.5-inch display with a resolution of 1280×960.
Kuo believes that the AR glasses will be offered as an iPhone attachment, primarily functioning as a display in offloading computing, networking, and location to the iPhone, with the glasses delivering a mobile-first “optical see-through AR experience.” In addition, Apple will be able to make the AR glasses compact and lightweight by selling them as an iPhone accessory.
According to leaker Jon Prosser, the glasses would resemble Ray-Bans Wayfarers or Tim Cook’s spectacles. At the same time, Bloomberg says the existing model mimics high-end eyeglasses with a thick frame that houses the batteries and computers.
Prosser also alleges that Apple is developing a limited-edition “Steve Jobs Heritage” variant of the wearable tech, which would look like the circular, frameless eyeglasses that Steve Jobs used to wear. Still, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman dismisses this report as a “total fabrication.”
We don’t know when Apple Glasses will be available, but given that this device is likely to follow the AR/VR headset, 2023 or 2024 appears to be the earliest feasible target date.
Apple’s AR/VR Team
Apple has been experimenting with virtual and augmented reality for several years. Still, doubts began to surface in March of 2015, when it was reported that Apple had a small team of people working on augmented reality. Apple’s team expanded in 2015 and early 2016 as the corporation acquired workers with experience in AR and VR technologies and made a number of related acquisitions.
Apple’s AR/VR team contains several hundred engineers from the firm who are all specialists in virtual and augmented reality specialists. The crew is spread among office parks in Cupertino and Sunnyvale, and Apple is working on various hardware and software projects codenamed “T288.”
Mike Rockwell, who came from Dolby, leads Apple’s augmented reality team, which blends “the skills of its hardware and software experts.”
Formerly Oculus, Amazon (from the VR team), Lytro, Microsoft, 3D animation firm Weta Digital, and Lucasfilm professionals are working on AR at Apple.
AR Patents Filed By Apple
Apple filed a patent in 2008 for a video headgear frame-like to Google Glass, which would allow customers to put their iPhone or iPod into the headgear to provide video. The headgear was billed as an augmented reality gadget that would enable users to view films and check their email while keeping an eye on their surroundings.
In addition to headset-related inventions, Apple has filed patents outlining additional ways they reality might integrate virtual and augmented reality technologies into its smartphones. For example, a 2009 patent application included camera-equipped 3D displays that would vary in perspective dependent on the user’s relative position.
The Bottom Line
The augmented reality glasses could be Apple’s most important device since the iPhone. In the future, augmented reality devices may replace the need for cell phones. While it is unlikely to happen with first-generation devices, Apple appears eager to have its AR glasses on the market as soon as possible.
Based on patent filings, Apple has been studying AR and VR technology for over 20 years. Still, with virtual and augmented reality rising in popularity with the debut of ARKit, Apple’s experimenting is becoming more serious. As a result, it is expected to lead to an AR product sometime in 2024.