For reasons best known to Apple, the Apple Glasses – believed to be called Apple Glass – is one of the most mysterious devices in the tech fraternity. For years now we have been sleeping with rumors about Apple’s augmented reality/smart glasses only to wake up with another set of hearsays the next morning. While we long to see the first real images of the glasses in any form, an Apple leakster, has managed to see them and “they’re sleek as hell,” he says.
Jon Prosser, who has had many correct Apple-related prediction in recent past, confirms the Apple Glass moniker and adds that it would retail for a considerably more affordable price than expected. With all speculations and presumptions, the AR glasses, could have been expected to retail upwards of a thousand grands – surprisingly they will start at $499 without the prescription lenses. Including your prescription lenses on Apple eyewear frame will be additional cost to you.
An Apple patent recently revealed hints at auto-adjusting pair of glasses that may not require prescription lenses. The system will identify required vision correction and make necessary alteration – pretty sci-fi right? This will be a story for the second-gen Apple Glass or maybe an all together a different VR/AR heads-up display – it is not happening anyway in the model that will be unveiled for us soon.
In line with various dig ups in the past, Apple’s first generation glasses would pair with the iPhone and all data processing will happen on the handset. This will lift up a lot of weight from the Apple Glass frame, which would make them as slim as Prosser says they are. If you remember, the first generation Apple Watch, before it run applications itself in the models down the years, also left all the processing for the iPhones to manage. The first-gen Apple Glass will be designed to do so as well.
When to expect the glasses?
There have been so many dates floating in the air for a supposed launch. It’s really difficult to warp head around a single date especially when Apple is absolutely tight lipped about it.
TF International Securities analyst, and a reliable Apple expert, Ming-Chi Kuo believes the Apple glasses will not ship before 2022. An earlier information leak from Apple’s internal presentation to employees, the AR glasses were tipped to launch in 2023.
Going against Kuo’s prediction, Prosser says, Apple Glass could come sooner than previously thought. He believes the announcement to happen sometime between March and June 2021. Earliest launch possibility however is predicted for September or October this year – at the iPhone event alongside the iPhone 12 and new Apple Watch – but it may not go on sale before next year.
As Apple visions these smart glasses to be the next big tech platform the company can leverage – it’s going to be very calculative with its strategy. Chances are then that Apple Glass will be announced months before it is ready to ship, as Apple does with all new category devices. This will give the Cupertino giant some more time to tinker with the software to arrive on the shelves with a bang.
Apple is planning this to be a “One More Thing” type announcement at an event with significant media presence. If we consider Q4 of 2020 as that golden period for the announcement – it will be influenced by how COVID-19 pandemic regulations unfolds by then.
If social distancing norms persist and Apple has to go online, where the press attendance in person is unlikely; the announcement could be pushed back to Q1 of 2021 or later and may then ship toward the end of 2021, or in early months of 2022.
iPhone controlled yet smarter
Apple’s augmented reality glasses is without doubt the company’s biggest product after the Apple Watch. This means, it has a lot of baggage on its thin frame. What will Apple manage to zero down between the frame is only what time will tell, for now we can run through the rumored aspects to satiate ourselves.
With the alleged price point Apple could bring AR features to first time uses who can experience the potential of the technology that’s already put the world on a different high with games like Pokémon GO. This $499+ pricing is justifiable when the iPhone in your pocket, that has the Bionic chipsets to handle AR, is doing all the heavy duty data processing, leaving the glasses to just measure movement and deliver information.
Apple Glass prototype currently is believed to have a plastic frame. It may not be as lightweight as your pair of sunglasses but definitely way cooler and lighter than AR headsets available out there. It gets a LiDAR scanner on the right temple but lacks any other camera, reportedly, due to safety reasons. The final version of the glasses could come with some sort of camera in a different material frame, who knows. Prototype evolution is underway until launch and supposedly many things can change – so it’s better off taking it as it comes – for now its plastic frame.
The glasses would be charged in open position, placed upside down on a plastic stand. This charging stand could evolve in a new material as well with time. What is really stirring is that the glasses will run a specially devised software called ‘Starboard.’
Although information remains scarce, it is believed that Apple Glass will display information on both its transparent lenses and not just one, as previously thought. The navigation will be possible via hand gestures both on and in front of the eyewear.
Apple Glass will be capable of scanning special Apple QR codes, but the first generation device may not work as sunglasses. Apple is reported finding it hard to display information on tinted glasses, at least in the prototype for now it is so. If Apple can dig deeper and workout a pair for your sunbathing at the beach – that better not told now.