Apple reportedly intends to bring lightweight augmented reality glasses of its own into the market. To achieve this goal, it has started working with German optics firm Carl Zeiss, claimed tech insider Robert Scoble.
Apple’s AR glasses could debut this year
In a Facebook post on Monday, Scoble claimed that Apple, which is rumored to have a lot of interest in the augmented reality space, is seeking help from Carl Zeiss to create a pair of AR glasses. Scoble said the project to create pairs of lightweight AR/mixed reality glasses could be announced this year, and a Zeiss employee confirmed this news.
It appears as if the project is in the exploratory prototyping phase, and Apple has reportedly contacted suppliers about the project, notes MacRumors. The glasses could debut in 2017, believes Scoble, but previous information suggests that the release might take place in 2018 or later.
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Scoble’s information must be taken with a grain of salt. However, rumors have surfaced in the past suggesting that the iPhone maker is working on a set of smart glasses. Apple’s glasses will make it possible for users to connect wirelessly to the iPhone, allowing wearers to see images and other information, notes MacRumors.
As of now, there have been no comments from Apple on the topic. The company is believed to have a complete team dedicated to AR/VR research and exploring how the technologies can be incorporated into future products. On several occasions, CEO Tim Cook has expressed a deep interest in augmented reality.
AR a bigger focus for Apple
While virtual reality promises to take users wearing goggles into new and exciting digital worlds, augmented reality overlays images and data atop the real world. Pokémon Go, an augmented reality game in which Pokémon appear on players’ phone screens on the streets or parks they’re exploring, is the best-known example of AR today.
Augmented reality is something Apple is very interested as compared to virtual reality. Cook told ABC News in September that AR has bigger possibilities than VR, as it allows people to be more “present.”
Cook said, “There’s virtual reality and there’s augmented reality — both of these are incredibly interesting. But my own view is that augmented reality is the larger of the two, probably by far.”
Apple has filed several patents related to augmented reality with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. In 2014, a patent application called “Transport electronic device” described a way of overlaying images over real-world viewable objects.