Apple is reportedly following in the footsteps of Google Glass, developing its own pair of AR-powered smart glasses. This is a big surprise considering the unpopular reception which the former received that lead to its demise.
People familiar with the matter told Bloomberg that Apple’s digital glasses ambitions are still in an exploration phase. The wearable may wirelessly connect to iPhones, display photos and various other data in a user’s field of vision, and take advantage of augmented reality.
Apple’s apparently gone as far as to talk about the project to potential suppliers and ordered small quantities of near-eye displays from one particular company for testing. However, the Cupertino-based giant hasn’t bought enough components to indicate mass-production is happening anytime soon.
In that light, a source claims that Apple may launch the glasses by 2018 at the earliest. This makes sense, since the brand is known for experimenting with various initiatives before pivoting or ending them, like it did with its autonomous car project.
Apple CEO Tim Cook is apparently under pressure right now to come up with new products to make up for slowing iPhone sales. He’s spoken about AR with enthusiasm on several occasions before, talking it up after the rise of Pokemon Go and stating that the company was high on AR for the long run.
Cook has also discussed how AR is going to take a while to develop since there are some hard technology challenges to clear first. He still believes it’ll happen in a big way, to the extent that everyone will wonder how they ever lived without it, just like today’s smartphones.
Apple’s been gobbling up companies like PrimeSense, Metaio, and Flyby Media for many years now. The first notably developed the motion-sensing tech powering Microsoft’s Kinect gaming system. Moreover, the company’s patent for an AR-based mapping system came to the surface recently.
Apple’s also been awarded patents for smart glasses which delve into VR. As the report puts it, the firm’s main challenge is to make a pair of genuinely useful internet-connected glasses which are small and sleek enough for ordinary consumers to wear.
Apple will also have to avoid Google Glass’ mistakes like having a tiny battery and raising privacy concerns. It’ll also have to compete with Microsoft’s HoloLens.