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Apple Glasses: Everything We Know So Far

While the world seems to have gone mad for VR systems – in 2023 we are expecting to see new offerings from Hive (Vive XR Elite), Lynx (R1), Shiftall (Meganex) and Playstation (VR 2) to name a few – many pundits are also awaiting the launch of a range of AR systems, and the Apple glasses in particular. The latest news is that they could be hitting the market by late 2023.

AR systems are often thought of as being more mainstream and usable than VR devices since they can be used on a daily basis in the real world. Because augmented reality can be accessed by virtually anyone who possesses a smartphone, it is a more effective tool for use in marketing and gaming than virtual reality. By projecting virtual graphics and characters through the camera or video viewer of a mobile device, augmented reality transforms the ordinary, real-world environment into a vibrant, aesthetically pleasing one. The only thing that augmented reality does is enhance the way a user interacts with the real world. Put that same power into a set of glasses and you really have something.

Imagine walking down the street and having information delivered straight to your eyes. You could have directions, emails, fitness information, weather forecasts, and a host of other data streamed directly to your eyes. While some might find that a bit intrusive, there are plenty of users who would delight at the prospect, and this is the market sector that AR glasses are aimed at. While there are plenty of developers and companies working on AR systems, Apple are one of the most intriguing since the rumour mill is working overtime on this one, and we actually know very little aside from official press releases and the thoughts of online pundits.

We know that Apple are working on a VR/AR headset, but are playing catch-up to other developers who are already in the field. But AR glasses are a relatively new area of technology and it could be an area that Apple could get to steal the headline. The race to develop augmented reality glasses appears to be picking up speed as Facebook and Amazon are rumoured to be working on products that are intended to compete with Apple’s Glasses. Things are starting to get interesting in this technology arena. A short communique on March 24th suggested that the Apple Glasses may be experiencing technical issues, and are likely to be delayed again, but there is no real end sight for these anyway, however, we do know that Apple are actively engaged in development. For a start, we know that there have been patent applications for the names “Reality One”, “Reality Pro” and “Reality Processor” were made in the US, EU, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Costa Rica and Uruguay, all of which appear to come from Apple.  

The general consensus among some of the more renowned online leakers, is that Apple is likely to introduce an AR/VR headset very soon, in June 2023, maybe during the upcoming WWDC event. This prediction was made by a number of other credible leakers as well. At the very least, Apple’s intelligent augmented reality glasses have been in development since the beginning of 2017. Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, expressed his enthusiasm about augmented reality (AR) during an interview around that time. Cook called AR “massive,” but he also said that the technology might not be ready yet for the public. This implies that there may still be some technical issues that need to be ironed out in order to make the device a commercial product.

As is to be anticipated from Apple, the company’s smart glasses will have a sleek and fashionable design that is enabled by the technology contained within them. A leaker by the name of Jon Prosser stated on a podcast in May of 2020 that the Apple glasses would look similar to standard eyewear, which is an explanation that makes sense. Their design will avoid anything that resembles “heavy equipment on your face,” and it will be aimed at average consumers. Also, it will be designed to be worn for extended periods of time without becoming uncomfortable.

While it might be entirely speculatory, according to a number of recent patents, Apple’s augmented reality glasses could have either one or two miniature projectors embedded in each frame, and will be responsible for casting an image onto the lenses. The image would seem to be superimposed on the observer’s surroundings to them as they looked at it. Some applications might readily support 3D effects if the Apple glasses are equipped with a dual-lens projection system that uses a separate projector for each of the glasses’ lenses. Processing this kind of information would call for a powerful – but miniature – chipset, and this could well be where the delay is occurring.

Pricing is always a problem and obviously subject to a great deal of speculation. Although it is expected that Apple’s first AR/VR headset will cost quite a pretty penny (leaks claim around $3,000), credible insiders are already saying that Apple is developing cheaper models, possibly to come out in 2024. A year ago, one internet analyst predicted that an Apple augmented reality headgear would be priced somewhere around $1,000, while a claim that came from the Digitimes website in late September 2021 suggested a price of $2,000. Yet, given the technology that was involved, a price that was somewhat greater is likely more realistic. Other trustworthy experts and leakers, like Mark Gurman from Bloomberg, are also claiming an even higher price of approximately $3,000.

There is still a great amount of speculation regarding the Apple Glasses, and we won’t really know the full specification until they are actually released, but we know that they are coming, and that other manufacturers should fear them.