Apple Reportedly Testing Augmented Reality Glasses That Pair With Your iPhone

In search of the next big money maker, Apple is considering a foray into augmented reality, a sector company CEO Tim Cook thinks will be really big. The company's interest is described as being in the exploratory phase at this point, as it look at whether there exists a significant market opportunity for a set of AR glasses that would wirelessly connect to iPhone devices, the latter of which is Apple's true cash cow.

The secret project is similar to what Google attempted with Glass. Google didn't get all that far with it, at least not on the consumer end of the spectrum, though Google's shortcoming could be a combination of being too early to market and coming out with a prototype device rather than a finished product. Apple would look to avoid both of those potential pitfalls.

Apple Store Fifth Avenue

Apparently Apple has already talked about its AR glasses project with potential suppliers. It even ordered a small batch of near-eye displays from a supplier so that it could test out the technology. That's not to say Apple is close to mass production—its order is well short of what would be required to produce AR glasses in scale, and that's assuming it ends up forging ahead with this anyway.

Apple is notorious for getting its hands into different product segments. Some of them work out, such as the iPhone and iPad, while others either fail or never see the light day, such as the oft-rumored Apple-brand television.

Virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality are all hot right now. If Apple thinks the market is headed towards alternate reality technologies, now would be a good time to start investing and planning for such a future. The iPhone has been kind to Apple, but with sales slipping, it's in need of another hit. The appeal of AR glasses is that they could be the next big thing while simultaneously bolstering continued interest into the iPhone.