During the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) held in Las Vegas last week, representatives from Apple met with augmented reality suppliers about the potential for Apple AR glasses.
Innovation In Technology
As one of the largest technology companies in the world, Apple has near unlimited resources to throw at product development and design. Despite some feeling that their iPhones are falling behind in terms of technical specifications when compared to Android phones, the iPhone X surprised the market with an innovative new Face ID technology that took holiday sales by storm. The iPhone X is already one of the best selling Apple devices in history, and it’s becoming clear that customers value revolutionary features over safe and incremental power increases.
While Apple may have started a trend that will radiate out into the rest of the smartphone scene, such as reports that the Huawei P20 will feature a similar face scanning technology, they still remain one of the few smartphone manufacturers that have truly innovated in recent years. The foldable Galaxy X is reportedly in the works by Samsung that will add another new piece of technology to the mix, but right now Apple reigns supreme when it comes to the best of tech.
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The company clearly has their eyes set on other opportunities to provide something new, however, with reports of Apple AR glasses in development.
Apple AR Glasses
Although the Apple AR glasses are the main takeaway from this report, it seems that if the tech giant isn’t the only company looking at expanding their reach into augmented reality. Representatives from Google, Facebook, Snap, and Xiaomi also made an appearance according to Bloomberg sources. Samsung and LG have also purportedly ordered a small number of AR components to build prototypes.
Bloomberg’s sources didn’t identify the suppliers that the company talked with about designing Apple AR glasses, and it’s likely we won’t find out for quite some time. Apple frequently blocks partners from discussing any sort of arrangement – doubly so when it comes to products that haven’t even been announced.
Previous rumors suggest that an Apple AR glasses is already under development and has been in the works for a good while before this CES meeting. Internally codenamed “T288”, it will likely be 2020 or later before we see an Apple AR headset actually come to market. It’s expected that the device will be completely self-contained, operating without any paired iPhone.
In order to release a pair of Apple AR glasses to the public that is unreliant on an iPhone or other Apple device, the headset will have to feature its own display and processor as well as its own software platform – dubbed “rOS” by Apple (short for “reality operating system”). As far as actually interfacing with the Apple AR glasses go, the company hasn’t quite nailed down the specifics of how it will be controlled. Currently, it’s rumored that Apple is experimenting with a combination of head gestures, Siri commands, and a touch panel.
While we don’t know too much thus far about the development of the Apple AR glasses, CEO Tim Cook is an ardent supporter of the technology, publicly claiming that it will “change the way we use technology forever.” With iOS 11 ushering in an ARKit intended to simplify development for iOS apps, it’s clear that the company’s vision is in line with that of its CEO.
In its current iteration, such as with the Microsoft Hololens and Google Glass, the applications of the technology is more niche than mainstream. Currently, there isn’t enough of a reason to walk around all day with an augmented reality headset. Apple has a track record of developing high-quality devices and marketing them well, however, so it’s possible we’ll start to see Apple AR glasses out in the world with more frequency than the current AR models.
It will be a good bit of time before we see what exactly Apple has up their sleeves with this new technology, but the fact that a representative from the company met with AR component providers is encouraging, and suggests that there’s truly a novel product in the works. Within a few years, it’s possible that we’ll all be interacting with a dynamic environment, but that dream is probably still a decent distance away.