The upcoming smart glass, Apple Glass, is said to introduce and redefine AR for consumers in the west, bringing the vast AR applications on iOS to assisted reality glasses in front of you. In this article, we will detail all we know so far about Apple Glass, and we will be updating it as new information is released.
What we will go over in this article:
- When is Apple Glass Release Date?
- What will Apple Glass Cost?
- What will Apple Glass look like?
- What features will be on the Apple Glass
- Future of Apple Glass
Apple Glass Release Date:
Leaks about the Apple Glass have pointed to an announcement in 2023 with a release later that year or in 2024. The reason for this later shipping date is Apple will be focusing efforts on their upcoming mixed reality headset Apple Reality One.
Further updated rumors from Haitong International Tech Research analyst Jeff Pu have indicated release may even be postponed until 2025/2026. Pu explained to MarketWatch that the delay is “due to design issues,” echoing similar complications Apple Reality One had, turning from virtual reality to mixed reality headset.
Apple Glass Cost
To keep costs down, Apple Glass is said to be a tethered device requiring an iPhone or iPad to function, which explains current rumors indicating the affordable price point of $499, plus any additional fees towards prescription inserts.
For context, Apple Glass is said to be more affordable than its Asian counterparts. For example, Oppo Air Glass – only sold in China – retails for 4,999 yuan (around $745), 1st gen TCL NXTWEAR for $899 (with a cheaper Air version coming), and Huawei X Gentle Monster Eyewear II priced $638 in the US. The only western competitor is Vuzix with the binocular Shield and Blade 2, the latter priced at €1.280,- excl. VAT from our store.
It should be mentioned that other reputable analysts predict a much higher price for Apple Glass. For example, known analyst Ming-Chi Kuo expects a price of $1,000, and Mark Gurman from Bloomberg speculates a price of around $2,000.
What will Apple Glass look like?
The design of Apple Glass is still unknown. However, preliminary marketing material indicates a classic black Clark Kent aesthetic.
Furthermore, current prototypes show a single LiDAR sensor located on the right temple with no other tracking cameras or sensors.
Apple Glass will be charged wirelessly from an accompanying stand. Besides these details, we don’t know any color choices or how much the glass will weigh. In any case, it is likely the optics will be waveguide, as this enables a slimmer and lighter form factor.
What features will be on the Apple Glass
In many ways, the features for the upcoming Apple Glass will mirror the AR developments on iPhone and iPad with updated LiDAR sensors and AirSwipe, StreetView AR, and Live Text on the iOS 15 update.
What is GlassOS?
The mention of a native operating system for assisted reality called GlassOS was uncovered in the iOS 13 update. Similar to GlassOS, another operating system by the name RealityOS was caught by iOS developers in open-source GitHub repos released by Apple. Not much else is known about GlassOS or RealityOS other than, reportedly, Apple will not engage in the metaverse and instead tread their own path.
Apple Glass will be an extension to AR applications
The Apple Glass will be paired with an iPhone or iPad, making it an extension of Apple’s current AR software strategy.
In other words, this is similar to how Apple Watch is used by consumers, as Apple Glass will be used to read notifications, emails, and calls. However, Apple Glass will differentiate itself further by placing existing AR features like AirSwipe, StreetView AR, and Live Text in front of consumers’ eyes.
An Apple Glass for any eyesight
While it still is unsubstantiated, as a patent filing can indicate any product offering, Apple patented an “optical subassembly” technology. This technology enables any person with poor eyesight to use Apple Glass, as multiple optical lenses will automatically adjust to the wearer’s vision.
Further to the optical subassembly invention, Apple filed another patent, enabling 3D objects to be beamed into the wearer’s eyes. This would alleviate the need for any optics, and mirror how our eyes naturally work, making the AR feel more realistic and natural.
A neat innovation Apple is tinkering with is chroma keying the backgrounds from the real world into a digital one. This works with embedded tracking cameras analyzing the environment and replacing isolated areas with 3D objects or digital background. In some ways, this is similar to how Magic Leap’s Dynamic Dimming technology works.
Apple also filed a patent for tracking smart rings to track fingers and gesture navigation. Naturally, these will increase the fidelity and minutia of hand and finger tracking, while also alleviating the Apple Glass to have any tracking cameras.
Lastly, a feature that Apple filed a patent for is akin to the Black Mirror episode White Christmas. Effectively, this invention will keep track of any people other than you peeking at your iPhone and will subsequently blur your screen for those on-lookers.
Future of Apple Glass
While it seems Apple will focus attention on its mixed reality headset codenamed N301, the company is one of the most active within augmented reality, with over 14,000 AR-related applications in their App Store. Naturally, this indicates that a smart glass is ideal for Apple as an extension to their AR apps. This is further compounded with Apple’s existing accessory and wearable tech strategy of the Apple Pen and Apple Watch.
Furthermore, other western brands like Google are also entering into smart glasses for consumers, as the company already has such a product for enterprises. Similarly, Asian markets with brands such as Oppo, Huawei, and TCL sell consumer smart glasses for professional purposes such as live meeting translation and entertainment in watching videos.