Apple’s Rumoured AR Glasses — What could we expect?
Recently there have been a lot of rumors popping up that Apple is developing its own AR glasses! This is not very surprising given how much Apple has invested in AR and how the next logical step is to start putting these pieces together. AR glasses historically have had issues in adoption especially in a consumer facing manner but in this article I thought it could be interesting to speculate on what Apple’s take on AR glasses could look like and how it could become the first widely adopted pair of AR glasses.
Disclaimer: I have no inside sources for these ideas. These are all my own interpretations of what I expect could be part of the product given Apple’s history.
With that said these are some of the things that I would expect in Apple’s AR glasses!
- The Apple Glasses will be Lightweight and Appealing
One of the biggest barriers to the adoption of AR is how big and unappealing the headgear has looked. For day to day use most consumers want to have more toned down natural looking devices so that they can be comfortable in their normal environments. This is a big reason why Google Glass failed.
Given Apple’s track record in design, I believe any consumer facing version of the Apple Glasses will be very close to a normal pair of glasses. In fact notorious Apple leaker Jon Prosser claims it could look similar to a pair of Ray Ban’s or the glasses that Tim Cook wears.
Whether it is true or not remains to be seen, but it seems more than likely that at minimum it will at least have a very simple design. It makes sense to have customers in the market want to buy the glasses to get the best of both design and functionality.
A recent example that was showcased well designed smart glasses was North’s (or now Google’s) Focals. They were able to offer many features in a form factor not previously seen before! If a company like North can do this I am excited to see what Apple can pull off!
2. The Glasses will only have a LIDAR Sensor and not have a camera
A contributing factor in Google Glasses failure was privacy concerns as users and people around the users were concerned as their video data had to be continuously streamed to Google in order for the glasses to work. This meant that it was always “watching” which made many uncomfortable and led to quick battery drain.
Apple can and already seems to have already chosen to address this by using LiDAR. Given advanced ML, LIDAR can recognize objects and items without having to necessarily record you all the time. With Apple’s hard line on privacy this definitely makes sense and should help keep consumers at ease compared to other offerings. We have already seen Apple’s commitment to LiDAR technology in its recent products (iPad Pro and iPhone 12)! By the time the glasses release, Apple should have had a lot of data to help iterate their recognition software!
3. The Glasses will be marketed as an accessory to your iPhone
One of the biggest problems with AR/VR right now is how smart glasses seem to be their isolated experiences which can make it a hard sell for customers. Why would they add a device incompatible to their current experience? This is where Apple has an advantage with its ecosystem. If, like Apple Watch, Apple is able to organically mesh Apple Glasses while retaining distinct functionality that makes it appealing, they will have a very compelling product.
As an accessory to the iPhone, Apple will be able to add a lot more to the device which they previously couldn’t. With iPhone interconnection, the glasses will be able to offload intense calculations to the phone. This should allow them to make a sleek design. There will be alot more uses cases beside this that wil be able to provide immediate benefits to users in the ecosystem!
4. The glasses will have a compelling App Lineup that takes advantage of the technology
As with any new modern platform, the unique ways that third-party developers build on the technology is vital in its success. It will be interesting to see what developers do with this new tech but some advancements I could see are:
Robust new Fitness Apps
The Apple Glasses LiDAR sensor combined with data from the Apple Watch should enable fitness apps to add even more value than they already do. Some potential examples could be apps that help you correct your form while shooting a basketball or let you know that you are incorrectly doing a bicep curl. The possibilities are really endless in how it can help your fitness!
Apps that help you enjoy historical recreation in a unique way
With Apple Glasses, developers could enable new experiences when visiting your local museum or shopping mall. Perhaps you could see what that dinosaur skeleton on display would’ve looked like millions of years ago when it still roamed the earth.
Assisted Navigation in Apps
Whether you are going on a run or a drive, Apple glasses will help you stay on course while not having to look at your phone all the time.
There are endless possibilities of what developers could do with this technology to help you out and it will be exciting to see what they think of!
Of course there are still a lot of areas to be explored but these are some core components I expect with the glasses. In terms of timelines, although many feel AR glasses will take a while to come to market, I tend to believe with all the rumours floating around they will arrive sooner rather than later. I predict we see them unveiled Q2 2022.
I know some people believe that these would be a mistake and that smart glasses are not commerically viable. I tend to strongly disagree with this. Many had the same feelings about smart watches but we now see how they fill a unique role in many people’s life. I think once developers figure out the unique abilities Smart Glasses offers them it will also end up being a core product for a lot of people!
I hope you enjoyed reading this article and will stay tuned for more articles coming in the future! Please let me know if I may have forgotten a feature or you disagree with something I have said.
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