Following up on his own report that Apple is working closely with optical manufacturer Carl Zeiss on a pair of Augmented Reality glasses, Robert Scoble doubled down on his claims during a recent appearance on the This Week in Tech podcast.
Originally spotted by AppleInsider, Scoble said that Apple may release a pair of AR glasses as soon as this year, even going so far as to say that an announcement may be timed in conjunction with the grand opening of the company’s spaceship campus or the September 2017 unveiling of the iPhone 8.
Now as intriguing as it is to speculate about a brand new product category from Apple, it’s worth noting that Scoble’s timeline here makes absolutely no sense. The notion that Apple would time the release of an incredible new product to the opening of a new corporate headquarters is bizarre, if nothing else. Further, if these AR glasses are truly as innovative as Scoble would have us believe, it stands to reason that they’d be revealed at a standalone event.
One last note about Scoble’s track record, which is solid in the startup world but not so much when it comes to Apple. Let’s not forget that Scoble recently reported that Apple will release a completely see-through iPhone later this year. Yeah, that’s definitely not going to happen.
The timing aspect of this story aside, there’s no denying that Apple has been heavily invested in Augmented Reality for quite some time. In addition to hiring a number of folks with deep expertise in the field, we’ve also seen a number of reports from credible sources which seemingly corroborate Scoble’s claims regarding Apple’s next major product category.
For instance, Bloomberg late last year said that Apple had recently ordered “small quantities of near-eye displays from one supplier for testing” ahead of a planned product launch in 2018.
What’s more, reputed analyst Ming-Chi Kuo issued a research note last year relaying that Apple is working on new Augmented Reality technology that may be a good 3-5 years ahead of competing products.
It’s also worth mentioning that Tim Cook over the last few months has been uncharacteristically effusive when discussing the technology.
“There’s virtual reality and there’s augmented reality,” Cook said a few months back. “Both of these are incredibly interesting. My own view is that augmented reality is the larger of the two, probably by far, because this gives the capability for both of us to sit and be very present talking to each other, but also have other things visually for both of us to see.
“Maybe it’s something we’re talking about,” Cook added, “maybe it’s someone else here that is not here, present, but could be made to appear to be present with us. So there’s a lot of really cool things there.”
Apple of course will often research new technologies and products that never see the light of day, with the company’s exploration of an HDTV being a prime example. Having said that, the mounting number of rumors centering on Apple releasing a pair of AR glasses is getting harder and harder to ignore.
As a final point of interest, we’ve also seen reports that Apple’s upcoming iPhone 8 may also incorporate augmented reality technology right into the camera app itself.