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Apple’s rumored smart glasses may feature 3D cameras without a dedicated display

Published Aug 5th, 2017 3:40PM EDT
Apple Smart Glasses Design
Image: Shutterstock

The enthralling augmented reality videos we’ve seen iOS developers release over the past few weeks may only be the beginning of Apple’s augmented reality ambitions. According to a new report from the Financial Times, Apple is actively trying to develop a pair of AR powered smart glasses, echoing a number of previous rumors we’ve seen sprout up over the last few months.

Interestingly, the report notes that Apple is exploring a number of different designs for its rumored smart glasses, with one design said to feature 3D cameras with no accompanying display on the device itself. A final design has yet to be determined, with the report adding that Apple is still trying to figure out what type of feature set would provide an optimal user experience.

“A particular area of experimentation, people familiar with the matter say, is a pair of AR glasses that might move cameras, sensors and screens from the smartphone to the face,” the report reads. “Yet despite the excitement surrounding ARKit, internally the company is still not sure what the most compelling application for such a headset might be.”

The notion that Apple is working on a pair of smart glasses is, again, nothing new. Not only have a number of credible sources confirmed Apple’s research in the area, Apple over the last 18 months has hired a number of reputed engineers and researchers with vast experience in fields such as optics and head-mounted displays. Indeed, some of the engineers working on the project previously worked on the Oculus Rift and Microsoft’s HoloLens headset.

Last November, Bloomberg added:

While still in an exploration phase, the device would connect wirelessly to iPhones, show images and other information in the wearer’s field of vision, and may use augmented reality, the people said. They asked not to be identified speaking about a secret project.

Furthermore, a purported Foxconn insider divulged a number of intriguing tidbits regarding Apple’s smart glasses project during an all-encompassing Reddit AMA this past June. According to this mysterious insider — whose identity was confirmed by Reddit moderators — Apple’s smart glasses will likely be equipped with a microphone for Siri commands along with an accelerometer to determine when a user moves his or her head in a certain direction. It’s worth noting that the Foxconn insider believes that Apple’s smart glasses will not include a camera due to battery life considerations, a design which is seemingly at odds with what the Financial Times reported above.

Features aside, Apple’s smart glasses — assuming it ever sees the light of day — will reportedly come in varying sizes for men and women and will be available in a few color options.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.

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