It seems Apple is working on a new AR headset, and some details have now been leaked. This comes courtesy Jon Prosser, who’s been on a roll recently with a series of leaks about Apple products. The latest prediction is a bit different – it’s about an entirely new range of hardware, in this case, Augmented Reality glasses. That’s correct, Apple might be hard at work on a set of AR glasses, and here’s what we might be getting:
Apple’s glasses might be called, well, Apple Glass. While it’s not the most inspired name around, keep in mind what their watch is called. Even then, we’re a bit surprised as the name brings to mind Google’s effort, which was panned almost unanimously (privacy concerns over the camera, the general low-rent sci-fi look…) but have now found a new lease of life in industrial applications. Also rumored is that the Apple Glass might be priced at $499, which does seem on the lower side given that we’re talking about Apple here, although they’ve recently changed tack and are also targeting price segments other than the premium end.
Jon Prosser also says that the glasses won’t have a camera, a pretty important fact considering much of the hate for the Google Glass was due to it having a camera, but it might come with LIDAR to enable gesture recognition and advanced AR functionality. More importantly, Apple is reportedly trying to keep the design as close to normal prescription glasses as possible, which should help encourage adoption. Another important factor might be that Apple’s designing these to work with prescription lenses, which will be sold separately, thereby opening up the market to folks who wear glasses. And when will Apple launch these? That’s not too far away, if Prosser’s information is correct – according to him, these could come alongside the iPhone 12.
Other interesting features include wireless charging, displays in both lenses (Google Glass had displays only over the right eye, and, unfortunately for users in sunnier climes, no tinted glass. Also, as was seen in the first-gen Apple Watch, most processing will be offloaded to your phone.
What if I don’t want Apple Glass? Is there an alternative
Yes, there is, and it’s made by Nreal. Dubbed Nreal Light, their Mixed Reality headset combines a lightweight (88g) construction, a wireless controller, Full HD resolution, a 52 degree field-of-view,hand and head tracking, and a multi-user shared mixed reality environment. Like the Apple Glass, Nreal Light will offload processing (in this case, to a computing unit powered by a Snapdragon 845)
The Nreal Light will be sold to consumers at $499, although right now, developer kits are up for pre-order at $1199.
What do the experts think?
In a pretty comprehensive post, display tech expert Karl Guttag has revealed his opinions about the Apple Glass – he believes that given the pricing, and Apple’s emphasis on design, visual quality might be far lower than the Nreal Light’s Full HD resolution. Guttag also expresses concern that Apple will be fitting LIDAR to the right side, which could make gesture control unreliable for left-handed people. He also believes that the inclusion of wireless charging means Apple Glass will have a wireless connection (as there’d really be no need for an in-built battery otherwise).
One area of concern he has is over how Apple will handle stereoscopic vision – according to Guttag, Apple might have to opt for the ‘ugly and unstable’ option of adjusting the Inter-Pupillary Distance. As for the lack of tinted glass, he indicates that more information is needed to clarify as ‘ neutral gray’ tinted glass should not affect usage,