New patent suggests Apple is developing separate AR spectacles, not related to Vision Pro.

New patent suggests Apple is developing separate AR spectacles, not related to Vision Pro.

Apple Continues Work on Smart Glasses, Patent Filing Suggests

Smart Glasses

Before the Apple Vision Pro was unveiled, there was much speculation about whether Apple would release augmented reality (AR) glasses as an accessory for the iPhone or a standalone virtual reality (VR) headset. Finally, Apple has introduced the Vision Pro, its highly anticipated VR headset, which the company has referred to as a “new kind of computer” – a spatial computer. However, a recent patent filing suggests that Apple is also working on a more conventional set of smart glasses.

Yes, you heard that right. While the Vision Pro is a full-fledged VR headset, Apple seems to have some plans for smart glasses as well. According to the patent filing, these smart glasses would provide a heads-up display, showing notifications, controlling music, and projecting images and information on the lenses to enhance the real world. The filing refers to the device as a “head-mounted display/smart glasses (HMD).”

Apple’s decision to work on both VR and smart glasses is not unprecedented. Meta, one of Apple’s biggest rivals in the consumer AR/VR space, offers both the Meta Quest VR headset and the Ray-Ban Stories AR glasses. However, Apple aims to go a step further with the Vision Pro by introducing more ambitious features that Meta has yet to achieve with its Quest headsets.

While it is reasonable to assume that Apple will utilize the power of the iPhone to drive the AR glasses, drawing on the expertise gained from the Apple Watch as a second-screen companion accessory is also possible. These glasses, being an iPhone companion, could belong to the same overall product family as the Vision Pro headset, potentially sharing certain features such as the Digital Crown.

Although Apple files numerous patents, not all of them materialize into real-world products. However, the timing of this filing, just three months after the Vision Pro announcement, makes it particularly intriguing. The filing provides detailed drawings and descriptions, lending it a more concrete quality compared to many other abstract patents.

While the potential for AR glasses as an iPhone accessory is exciting, it is important to note that shrinking the advanced technology found in the Vision Pro into a smaller, more lightweight form factor akin to regular spectacles is still many years away. As a result, it is likely that Apple will have both the AR glasses and the Vision Pro headset in its product lineup, targeting different market segments. Eventually, Apple may merge these two product lines in the future.

In conclusion, Apple’s patent filing suggests that the company is continuing its work on smart glasses, potentially offering them as an accessory for the iPhone. The Vision Pro, Apple’s flagship VR headset, demonstrates the company’s ambition in the AR/VR space, while the possible introduction of smart glasses indicates a broader strategy to cater to different user needs. As Apple continues to innovate, only time will tell how these products will evolve and shape the future of computing and mobile technology.

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Apple AR glasses

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