Apple may be working on augmented reality glasses to rival Microsoft’s Hololens, according to reports from Apple Insider.
The publication cites a Facebook posting from AR/VR evangelist Robert Scoble that said that a Zeiss employee confirmed the rumours that Apple and Carl Zeiss AG are working on a light pair of augmented reality/mixed reality glasses that may be announced this year.
Scoble added that partnership explained with the booth operated by Zeiss and in the middle of the augmented reality section at the CES show in Las Vegas, had no AR, VR or mixed reality optics to demonstrate. He added that said to an employee that “Tim Cook [Apple CEO] didn’t let you” put any products out on display and the employees of Zeiss “smiled nervously”.
While there is speculation that the tech giant might be planning something in the AR/VR space, Cook did say in an earnings call last year that the firm was “high on AR for the long run, we think there’s great things for customers and a great commercial opportunity. So we’re investing.”
Any AR headset would put Apple into direct competition with Microsoft and its Hololens headset.
Apple has been quietly building up its expertise in AR and has purchased motion capture specialist Faceshift, machine learning and computer vision start-up Perceptio, German AR firm Metaio and Flyby Media, among others, according to Apple Insider.
Apple enters IoT
Ian Hughes, Internet of Things analyst at 451 Research, told Internet of Business that AR is the user interface for IoT.
“Apple will have to enter the marketplace, it’s eco system is tightly controlled so it cannot rely on an army of third-party providers of technology to take it into the next wave of devices,” he said.
“AR is a technology wave that should leapfrog the VR headset market that is currently getting lots of attention.”
Adarsh Radia, co-founder of KITE eyewear, told IoB that the Cupertino tech firm has a lot to live up to.
“Any new product Apple launches, is usually all singing and dancing e.g. iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch etc.,” he said.
“I think they will try to do the same here. Is the timing right? I would say it’s much better (not including Snap, there are a plethora of wearable glasses that are getting overfunded on Kickstarter) but there are technical challenges to getting all the tech they will likely want, crammed into a well-designed and relatively light pair of smart glasses. I am betting Apple will want to create wearable glasses 10 times better than those currently available.”