Apple Invents Future AR Glasses app allowing users to compare products side-by-side like Pharmaceuticals & more
Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that relates to a possible future application designed for Apple's AR Glasses. Every successful new product needs a series of useful applications to make it unique and create demand. Apple Watch was one such case where Apple's refocused vision for the Watch turned to Health apps and has made the Watch a runaway hit.
Now with Apple Glasses in the works, Apple will be trying to create a series of new unique apps that could do more than give just deliver calendar, weather and other standard iOS apps. A new Apple patent application published today is clearly one of the first new apps under consideration. Apple's patent title says it all: "Product Comparison Techniques."
Apple notes that reading product packaging and instructions to compare products, while at a brick and mortar shop, is an inefficient experience. Searching online to locate product information, in the same setting, can also be inefficient. These techniques require more time than necessary, wasting user time and device energy.
Apple's invention covers techniques that will provide electronic devices such as AR Glasses with faster, more efficient methods and interfaces for providing product information.
Such methods and interfaces optionally complement or replace other methods for providing product information. Such methods and interfaces reduce the cognitive burden on a user and produce a more efficient human-machine interface.
A user will be able to hold up one product, say cold medicine in one hand and a competing product in the other hand held almost side-by-side. The AR Glasses will understand this pose or gesture to trigger a comparison app. This example is highlighted in patent figures 4A and 4D below.
Apple's patent FIG. 4A above illustrates an example of two products being viewed in a CGR environment side-by-side; FIG. 4D illustrates an example of detailed information for a first product and a second product being viewed in a computer-generated reality (CGR) environment. You'll also note in patent FIG. 4D that Apple's engineers are using the exercise "rings" concept to this app with a different context.
In FIG. 4D you'll see comparison information #406b which includes one or more of price, features, ingredients, nutrition information, allergy information, directions for use, drug interaction information, environmental rating, and user rating.
The lists of information in comparison changes depending on what you want compared. Apple illustrates elsewhere that the system will be able to compare cereal values, side effects of a product and so forth.
It's an interesting idea that, on the surface, appears extremely limited. It's not like I can ask the Best Buy rep to put two laptops side by side. Then again, technically, the AR Glasses camera could take a photo of one product and then a photo of a second product and then trigger the app to do a comparison of the two products found in the photos entered into the app.
At present, it seems like a limited app on paper, though Apple wouldn't have tackled this if it didn't have perceived value. Of course, I'm always hoping for X-Ray vision, but we're probably a century away from that feature. Then again, MIT Researchers have been working on it for years, so time will tell.
If you have any constructive ideas, share them with us on the tweet of this report.
If you want to dig a little deeper, check out patent application 20200334731 that was published today by the U.S. Patent Office was filed back in Q2 2020. Some original work is dated back to Q2 2019. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.