Is Apple working on an augmented reality (AR) device? Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo recently reported that consumers should expect AR glasses from Apple sometime next year. The device will supposedly be marketed as an iPhone accessory.
Apple’s AR glasses will serve primarily as an iPhone display while the actual computing, internet connectivity, and location services will be provided by the iPhone. Although users will need to carry their iPhone around with them to use the AR glasses, the glasses themselves will supposedly be smaller, more lightweight, and more comfortable to wear. It is also likely that the AR glasses will pair with other devices like the Apple Watch. Kuo believes that the AR glasses could be ready for mass production as soon as 2019, but admits that mid-2020 is a more likely date.
Apple’s AR glasses may also run on a new operating system. The system will be based on Apple’s existing iOS and will be dubbed “rOS” or “reality operating system”. It is currently unclear how exactly rOS will differ from other Apple operating systems.
The company has filed a variety of augmented reality patents over the last decade, but few have so far come to fruition. Apple released their first ARKit in 2017. The kit helps developers to create augmented reality apps for Apple devices. However, at the moment there is not a designated, widely available Apple AR device.
It is likely that Apple will release a number of AR products in the future. Apple CEO Tim Cook remarked, “I think AR is extremely interesting and sort of a core technology. So, yes, it’s something we’re doing a lot of things on behind that curtain that we talked about.” Cook believes that new features and devices will help keep iPhones, iPads, and other Apple devices relevant.
Apple’s AR glasses could prove to be some serious competition. Comparable devices such as the Microsoft HoloLens tend to be bulky, expensive, and targeted at companies, hospitals, and academic institutions. Apple’s AR glasses may help to get AR devices into the hands of the masses. At the moment we know nothing about the device’s specifications, features, or pricing, but it seems fairly certain that we can look forward to an Apple AR device by next year.