Apple Glasses rumor review: features, expectations, price and release date
What makes this product a particularly hot topic for rumors and speculations is not only the fact that it’s an Apple product, but that it’s a product from a whole new category. And if there’s one thing Apple can do, it’s to disrupt whole industries with a single release. And Apple Glasses is what many expect to be the next big thing. Those are some big shoes to fill, so let’s summarize what we think we know about Apple Glasses.
The challenge with AR glasses comes from the need to have displays that are both transparent and able to show the content with enough contrast and clarity to make it useful. Transparent displays have been around for years, but for an Apple product that’s destined to carve its own path in the tech world, those are just not good enough. That’s why over the last few years Apple has acquired not only specialists in the field of AR but whole companies as well to make use of their intellectual property and expertise.
An iPhone companion
Through the phone, you’d be able to get a wide variety of content on your glasses. From obvious things like notifications, directions and news/weather updates to totally new experiences such as 360-degree video playback and virtual meeting rooms. For the last two, information from the device’s on-board sensors will be used to determine the position of your head in space to display the relevant imagery. Imagine sitting in an empty board room but when you look at the chairs you see people in them as if they’re right there with you. If Apple can pull something like that off, it will be truly a taste of the future.
Don’t expect to see any knobs or dials on the frames of the Apple Glasses (although that would be fun). Any controls you’d operate with your fingers will likely be touch-sensitive surfaces you can tap or swipe on. However, some rumors suggest that the glasses might come with a small handheld controller that will have buttons and perhaps a tiny joystick. Additionally, you’ll be able to use voice commands thanks to Siri just like you do with AirPods. Some speculations also include head gestures such as nodding and shaking. Will people be willing to randomly nod in the middle of the street is still up for debate.
Camera, no camera or something in between?
One issue people have with smart glasses of any sort is that if they have a camera you can never be sure if it’s recording or not. Obviously, that would be a serious concern for Apple as well, since it boasts privacy as one of the pillars of its business. Still, for AR to work, the glasses will have to pick up their surroundings somehow. That's why Apple seems to have opted to use LiDAR for its glasses. The company already introduced a LiDAR sensor on its latest iPad Pros and rumors suggest that this year's iPhone Pros will have one as well.
One reason renders of the Apple Glasses look so different is that there might be more than one AR product in development.
An AR headset family
Apart from the glasses we described above, there are hints that Apple might bring out one or two more products from that segment. Some rumors suggest that there might be a full-on VR/AR headset for use at home as a competitor of the Oculus Quest or the HTC Vive. Apple has dipped its toes in the gaming scene with Apple Arcade, so a VR section that’s exclusive to its own VR headset is not a far reach. Backing up those suggestions are codenames for AR headsets found within Apple’s ARDisplayDevice framework which comes with Xcode, the company’s software development tool. There are two names for AR headsets: “Frank” and “Luck”, and another one for a HoloKit codenamed “Garta”. The HoloKit could be something meant to be used in a work environment for professionals that work with 3D such as civil engineers, architects, interior designers and, of course, game developers.
managed to run its test mode, StarTester, and simulate the left and right eye streams while in the test environment.
Apple Glasses price and release date
Currently, there's serious talk only regarding the release of the standard, LiDAR-equipped glasses. Unsurprisingly, the COVID-19 pandemic has apparently pushed back the announcement and release of that product as well. There are contradicting reports, some suggest we might get the announcement as soon as this Fall, most likely during the iPhone 12 launch event. Others are saying an early 2021 event could be when we'll first hear about the Apple Glasses officially.
We’ll update this rumor review as soon as new information becomes available so keep an eye for it if you’re interested in Apple’s “next big thing”.