Tuesday, November 15, 2016
Apple is working on smart glasses
Apple is working on a pair of smart glasses.
The product would be introduced in 2018 at the earliest, Bloomberg reported Monday, citing an unnamed source. The project is advanced enough to be in talks with suppliers, the report said.
The smart glasses would be Apple's first in a category of product that was originally pioneered by Google with its Google Glass product. Like Google Glass, Apple's smart-glasses product would be geared toward information conveyance instead of immersive augmented-reality experiences like the products that Magic Leap is developing and Microsoft's HoloLens.
Bloomberg cited sources saying the glasses "may use augmented reality." The project is in "early product testing," the Bloomberg report said.
The smart glasses would be designed to connect to an iPhone for processing to keep their weight down and keep the design of the frames stylish without adding too many additional electronics.
A main component of any pair of Apple smart glasses would be the lenses. Last week, Upload VR entrepreneur-in-residence Robert Scoble wrote in a Facebook post that Apple's optics partner was Carl Zeiss, which produces a lens called Zeiss Smart Optics.
Thomas Alt, who joined Apple after the company bought Metaio, an AR company he was the CEO of, is listed as an inventor on a glasses patent assigned to Carl Zeiss. His LinkedIn profile lists him as "Director of Procurement, Strategic Deals Team" at Apple.
A Zeiss representative declined to comment on any partnership with Apple.
"I do think that a significant portion of the population of developed countries, and eventually all countries, will have AR experiences every day, almost like eating three meals a day, it will become that much a part of you," Apple CEO Tim Cook said last month in Utah.
Apple develops many projects internally, and those efforts often do not ultimately result in a full product that goes on sale. Apple is working on integrating augmented reality into its software, and the glasses would most likely be its first hardware product targeted the AR market.
Know what Apple's smart-glasses project is called? Contact the author at kleswing@.