A series of recent reports claimed that Apple plans to unveil a brand new product next year, augmented reality glasses that would work in tandem with the iPhone. We’ve been calling the device Apple Glasses for lack of a better name, but it turns out the first AR wearable product from Apple might not look anything like glasses. A new report says that Apple plans to launch an AR headset by 2022, and that AR glasses will follow a year later. Recent rumors all said Apple might unveil its first AR product as early as next year given that icons for an AR headset were already spotted inside iOS, but there were never any guarantees that would happen.
According to sources familiar with Apple’s internal dealings who spoke with The Information, the company presented the upcoming AR product release timeline to employees during a presentation at Apple Park last month. Apple executives talked about the two AR devices in front of an audience of more than 1,000 employees, the report says, with Apple’s AR/VR head Mike Rockwell leading the proceedings.
The AR headset (N301) will look supposedly like Facebook’s Oculus Quest VR wearable that was released earlier this year. But Apple will reportedly deliver a sleeker design that will “make heavy use of fabrics and lightweight materials” to ensure a comfortable experience during extended use. The AR glasses (N421) are said to look like sunglasses, featuring “thick frames that house the battery and chips.”
The headset will feature a high-resolution display and cameras that will let users “read small type,” as well as “see other people standing in front of and behind virtual objects.” Technologies like “3D scanning” and “advanced human detection” are said to let the device map the surfaces, edges, and dimensions of rooms with greater accuracy than any competing product:
To illustrate these capabilities, attendees at the October meeting were shown a recording of a demonstration in which a virtual coffee machine was placed on a real kitchen table surrounded by people in a room. The virtual coffee machine obscured people standing behind it in the room.
The report notes that Apple plans to reach out to developers as early as 2021, with a preview possibly coming sooner than 2022.