On July 27 Patently Apple posted a report titled "Apple Patent Reveals the Exciting Possibility of Augmented Reality Smartglasses." In that report I had noted that Apple has been updating some of their trademarks of late to cover such possible future products as "sunglasses; virtual and augmented reality displays; goggles; headsets, 3D spectacles, eyeglasses, spectacle lenses; and optical glass." Obviously Apple wants to cover the widest spectrum of future glasses in a variety of known styles.
Apple's R&D teams have been working on a head mounted display going back to 2006, way before there was a Galaxy VR or Oculus headset. Apple was granted their latest patent for a headset back on August 30, 2016. Earlier in 2016 I covered this topic in a report titled "Apple's 'Secret' VR Team isn't that Secret Anymore." Now the Financial Times is reporting that Apple's engineering team is mulling various forms of glasses as an accessory for the iPhone.
The Financial Times reports that "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. Yet despite the excitement surrounding ARKit, internally the company is still not sure what the most compelling application for such a headset might be.
As a result, there are still several different kinds of prototype being experimented with, according to people close to the company. One group of engineers is said to be advocating for a pair of glasses that have 3D cameras but no screens, leaving the iPhone as the hub and main display."
Duncan Walker, a London-based independent developer says that "There are opportunities for ARKit to be massively disruptive." Walker is behind the "ARKit Film Experiment 00" as noted below. He shot it on his iPhone. The robots you'll see in the film aren't really there. They're characters created with Apple's ARKit. Walker added that he "couldn't have been able to make that a couple of years ago. The video was put together in a weekend – instead of months it might take a Hollywood film maker."
Can you see why Apple's Tim Cook is so excited about bringing augmented reality to iOS devices this fall? It's going to be exciting to see the content roll out. I'm sure with a cool headset, it would be like sitting in a theater watching a film.
For now we have to be patient, but the excitement over augmented reality is growing and it's likely to have the iPhone 8 rocket in sales if the content out of the gate is as hot as the Wingnut AR game was during Apples keynote.
For more on this, read the full Financial Times report.
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