Apple’s debut augmented reality (AR) glasses will likely work with the iPhone for rendering and computing. That’s according to well-known industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a new research note to investors, which was obtained by Apple-centric news website 9to5Mac, Kuo said Apple could begin mass production of its first AR glasses somewhere between the fourth-quarter of 2019 and the second-quarter of 2020.
The headset, described by Kuo, will work in tandem with the iPhone. That means the iPhone will do all the heavy lifting when it comes to rendering and computing. Going by logic, the AR glasses requires a smartphone or the iPhone to mirror notifications to the headset’s display.
The device sounds similar to the Vuzix Blade, a pair of smart AR glasses, that projects sports scores, weather updates and alerts, on an image that appears in front of your eyes. The glasses are definitely convenient, as you do not require to take out a smartphone every time a notification pops up. The Vuzix Blade may offer a glimpse to the future, but the headset itself cost $1000, which is equal to the price of any flagship smartphone. Expect Apple’s AR headset to cost even more than the competition.
What is AR?
In case you’re not aware, augmented reality (AR) is different from virtual reality (AR). VR headsets like Samsung Gear VR tracks your head movement, and the 3D image displayed inside the headset. Augmented reality, on the other hand, requires the see-through glasses where the image is displayed in front of your eyes. Simply put, AR is a technology that sees virtual 3D images overlaid onto the real world.
The market for AR glasses is still niche, with Microsoft and Magic Leap remain the two biggest players in the AR glasses space. However, both headsets from Microsoft and Magic Leap are expensive. In fact, Microsoft’s HoloLens is aimed at the enterprise market and business users. Meanwhile, smartphone players like Samsung and Huawei are yet to offer a pair of smart AR glasses in the market.
Apple could popularise the market for AR glasses
Apple’s jump into the augmented reality (AR) headset shouldn’t come as a big surprise. The Cupertino company is heavily invested in AR, and its existing iPhone models are well-equipped to handle AR apps. If Apple demonstrates its AR glasses this year, this likely means the next iPhone could be even more powerful. Industry watchers believe Apple’s AR glasses will likely play a key role in the adoption of technology among mainstream users and courage adoption.
At the moment, we do not know much about Apple’s first-ever AR glasses. The glasses will likely have a display, camera, wireless connections, and depth sensors. Given that Apple is making a pair of smart AR glasses, they will be lightweight and look stylish.
Keep in mind that Apple has not acknowledged its plans to make a pair of smart augmented reality (AR) glasses yet. But in 2017 Bloomberg reported that Apple is working on the augmented reality headset. Last year, CNET reported that the headset will have an 8K display for each eye and will connect wirelessly to a dedicated “box”. Many believe the headset will combine AR and VR technologies.
Google was the first major tech company to realise the potential of augmented reality. The company did launch Google Glass, a pair of AR glasses, but the project was shortlived. Intel too ventured into the AR glasses space with its Vaunt headset. However, the project got cancelled even before its official. In a statement to TechCrunch, the tech giant cited the lack of investment behind the demise of Vaunt AR glasses, which was in development under the company’s New Devices Group.