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Patent hints that an iPhone must be used with upcoming ‘Apple Glasses’

Apple has been granted yet another patent for “Apple Glasses,” its rumored augmented reality/virtual reality headset. This one (number 10,686,922) is for a “head-mounted display apparatus for retaining a portable electronic device with display.”

There’s debate as to whether the Apple Glasses would require an iPhone to operate. This patent hints that the smartphone would indeed work as the “brains” and motor of the head-mounted display (HMD)

In the patent data, Apple says that an iPod touch or iPhone could be used in a wired configuration to allow you to view media on a private display, while the media is provided by a personal handheld device. However, the company says that a wired connection may be inconvenient and cumbersome in certain situations (e.g., the user must separately hold multiple devices and deal with cables).

In addition to being unwieldy, the coupled system often utilizes redundant features, that aren’t necessary when using the devices together. Fore example, each device utilizes a display screen, which adds cost, size, weight, and complexity to the entire system. Apple’s idea? A “head-mounted display system, particularly a system that temporarily integrates or merges both mechanically and electronically a head-mounted device with a portable electronic device.”

When it comes to Apple Glasses, the rumors are abundant and varied. Such a device will arrive next year or 2022, depending on which rumor you believe. It will be a head-mounted display. Or may have a design like “normal” glasses. Or it may be available in both. The Apple Glasses may or may not have to be tethered to an iPhone to work. Other rumors say that Apple Glasses could have a custom-build Apple chip and a dedicated operating system dubbed “rOS” for “reality operating system.”

Here’s Apple’s summary of the invention: “Head-mounted display systems and methods of operation that allow users to couple and decouple a portable electronic device such as a handheld portable electronic device with a separate head-mounted device (e.g., temporarily integrates the separate devices into a single unit) are disclosed. The portable electronic may be physically coupled to the head-mounted device such that the portable electronic device can be worn on the user’s head. 

“The portable electronic device may be operatively coupled to the head-mounted device such that the portable electronic device and head mounted device can communicate and operate with one another. Each device may be allowed to extend its features and/or services to the other device for the purpose of enhancing, increasing and/or eliminating redundant functions between the head-mounted device and the portable electronic device.”

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.