Since 2017, we have heard that Apple is developing a new consumer device with AR technology. Based on various leaks and rumours, we already know more than a few things about Apple AR Glasses. Because AR devices overlays information and other graphical elements to our normal vision, they can remain compact and lightweight. On the other hand, VR devices project an entire virtual 3D environment, so they are bulky and heavier.
Because it’s relatively cheaper to produce AR smart glasses, unit cost could be less than $1,000. However, because it will be the first generation of AR glasses, prices can be fairly high, because Apple needs to incorporate development costs. Google Glass with its underwhelming functionality was available for $1,500 in 2013, resulting in poor reception from consumers. With the best-case scenario, we could still be hopeful that Apple’s smart glasses will be under $1,000.
Tim Cook promised in 2017 that Apple AR glasses will be a huge thing, but it was not ready for mainstream use. In recent years, we spotted various AR-related patents from Apple. Reports told us that possible launch could be in 2021 or 2022. A well-known informant, Jon Prosser, told us that Apple will officially introduce AR glasses in WWDC 2021 event. Another reliable analyst, Ming-Chi Kuo, said that the whole roadmap of Apple AR products will start from 2022. Apple may also release a helmet-like AR device in 2025 and AR contact lens after 2030.
Just like many other AR devices, Apple AR glasses will also have projectors for each lens to cast information and graphics. These projectors overlay images to the surrounding environment, ensuring good immersion. With two projectors for each lens, it is possible to overlay 3D effects. CNET reported in 2019 that each lens will have 8k or 7680 x 4320 resolution. Ming-Chi Kuo added that Apple AR glasses will have Micro-OLED displays from Sony to deliver see-through augmented reality experience, as well as VR-like experience.
Speakers and mic
Apple AR glasses will have stereo speaker system with one speaker for each ear. With the microphone, users can interact directly with Siri to get information and tell commands. It won’t be necessary for users to pull out their iPhone from pocket or purse to do certain tasks. A patent from Apple divulges that those speakers may be able to detect inaudible sounds. There are also indications that Apple AR glasses can direct users to sources of sound.
Ming-Chi Kuo told us that Apple AR glasses may have a total of 15 tiny cameras and 8 of them are for AR-related tasks. However, Google Glasses received criticism because it easily allows users to record any individual in secret, which is a major breach in privacy.
Apple AR glasses won’t have a big battery, due to design constraints. The best way is to make the device very energy efficient to ensure longer battery life. There could be two battery cells, with one in each frame. There’s a previous patent that allows wireless charging with radio signal, which can help to extend the operational time of Apple AR Glasses.