After Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, has subtly stated that the company is more interested in AR rather than VR, a new report reveals that the company has already started to develop AR glasses. Although this is exciting news for Apple fans, Apple at this point is playing catch up with other companies like Microsoft and its HoloLens.
According to the recently released report, Apple is in the process of experimenting with a pair of AR glasses which are able to connect wirelessly to a host device like an iPhone in order to function. However, the company has not decided to fully commit to the development of such a product. The report mostly reveals that the company has ordered a small number of near-eye displays from one supplier. This means that Apple is at least trying to develop a prototype of their device.
Not much else is known about the secretive project. Not even if the glasses will have augmented reality technology or will just simply be a wearable display. AR technology requires more resources such as cameras, transparent displays, sensors, and a host of algorithms to function. A heads-up display featuring a simple user interface similar to that of Google Glass is a less daunting product to develop.
Nonetheless, if Apple is indeed serious about the glasses not matter what form they will take, they won’t be released sooner than at least 2018. Many analysts and industry experts have taken the subtle hints issued by Tim Cook on various occasions regarding the advent of VR and AR. He has stated his preference for augmented reality but the exact form their interest will take is still unclear.
The company’s preference for AR is reinforced by a number of AR patents such as an AR mapping system for the iPhone which was granted last week or even a device localization technology patent obtained by Apple after its acquisition of Flyby Media.
According to the report, Apple is also getting a team of specialists together through a number of strategic hires and companies specializing in various segments of the AR industry. Among these companies you can find Faceshift, specializing in motion capture, Perceptio, a startup which focuses on machine learning and computer vision, as well as Metaio, an AR company from Germany.
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