As a matter of practice, and to prevent an onslaught of frivolous lawsuits, Apple routinely patents every single new product and technology its engineers come up with. And though most Apple patents do not result in a shipping product, that’s not always the case. Indeed, there have been a few instances in the past where an Apple patent has provided us with concrete information regarding an unreleased product or upcoming feature on an existing product.
Having said that, the most intriguing Apple rumor of late centers on the Cupertino-based company rolling out a pair of AR glasses. To this end, Apple recently filed a patent application which covers a head-mounted device with a transparent display. And while a head-mounted device could quite literally be any number of things, the entirety of the patent tends to point to something similar in design to a pair of glasses with transition lenses.
This would certainly make sense design-wise given that it would seemingly be hard to make out information displayed on a regular pair of lenses in broad daylight. Transition lenses would address this problem rather simply.
To this point, Gizmodo adds:
The problem with current smart glasses, such as the Focals by North, is that projected images can be hard to read in brightly lit areas. I wore a pair of Focals out on a sunny day and couldn’t see a thing until I attached a pair of clip on sunglasses. An adjustable opacity layer could potentially solve that problem, all while eliminating the need to buy another accessory.
From what we can tell based on a slew of somewhat credible rumors, Apple’s AR glasses won’t be a standalone product as much as it will be an iPhone accessory of sorts. Previous reports have indicated that Apple’s AR glasses will mostly display information while a connected iPhone would handle all of the computational heavy lifting. Consequently, Apple’s AR glasses will reportedly be light on built-in hardware.
As far as a release date is concerned, noted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo not too long ago issued an investor note claiming that Apple’s AR glasses will drop sometime in 2020.