Apple is now more interested in augmented reality eyesore than an auto project, according to the Financial Times (subscription required). Any retail launch is thought to be at least a year away, however.
An area targeted at Facebook (Oculus), Microsoft (HoloLens), Magic Leap (MLEAP) and elsewhere, AR eyewear is reportedly receiving every more attention at Apple as the technology is, prospectively, an eventual major hardware evolution beyond the smartphone.
Bloomberg says the Cupertino, California-based company is working on several AR products, including digital spectacles that could connect wirelessly to an iPhone and beam content—movies, maps and more—to the wearer. While the glasses — which I’ve dubbed “iGlasses” — are a ways off, AR features could show up in the iPhone sooner, the article adds.
Apple is more interested in AR than virtual reality (VR), because the former connects people whereas the latter is often an isolating experience involving a headset that renders the user blind to the real world.
Apple has applied for multiple patents regarding AR and scooped up some AR-related companies. In 2015, the tech giant purchased Metaio, a company makes Metaio Creator, an AR authoring tool. Metaio says it allows for quick and easy creation and deployment of AR scenarios that are based on the latest tracking technologies.
In 2013, Apple bought PrimeSense, an Israeli maker of chips that enable three-dimensional (3D) machine vision. The chip’s 3D sensors are designed to enable nature interaction between people and devices and between devices and their surroundings. Its machine vision products map out 3D environments and track movements of bodies, faces and facial expressions.