Apple’s iPhone is a real disruptive product: It has changed the way we consume media and initiated the triumph of the smartphone. The group is now preparing for the next big revolution, because smartphones should become history at some point: Apple wants to make augmented reality glasses suitable for the masses.
At the end of 2017, a report from Bloomberg made headlines, saying that Apple was already working intensively on an augmented reality headset that could soon be ready for the market. Three years later, nothing more has happened in this area, at least in terms of publicity.
However, according to new insider reports, this could soon change. According to the website The Information, details of Apple’s new AR offensive were discussed in an internal presentation.
According to the informants, Apple plans to launch its first fully functional AR headset in 2022 and an even fancier version than AR glasses will follow in 2023. Apple assumes that AR glasses will have replaced smartphones by 2030.
Are AR glasses the future?
Google Glass was the first attempt to establish data glasses for the population. Previous experiments with augmented reality wearables for the face attracted a lot of attention, but all failed because of mass adaptation.
The best-known example of this was probably the ” Google Glass ” published by Google in 2013, which consisted of a futuristic-looking glasses frame with a small transparent display in front of the left eye.
The idea was to display information such as the time, the weather or received messages directly in the field of vision without having to take your smartphone out of your pocket.
However, only comparatively few functions were practically usable on the device and in order to be able to access the Internet, a connection with the smartphone or WLAN had to be established. Since only a few users actually showed interest, the Google Glass project was at least closed to the public in 2015.
Other experiments such as the Snapchat Spectacles or an Amazon-supported project called Focals by North deliver designs that are far more suitable for everyday use, but they are also very limited in their functions. So far, the signs have tended to indicate that “smart glasses” or data glasses for everyday use are, if at all, a thing of the distant future.
Nevertheless, Apple seems to be sure of its cause and experts like those from the market research company IDC are making positive forecasts: They expect sales of VR and AR glasses to increase from around 9 million units in 2019 to 68 million units in 2023 will have increased.
Why Apple and why now?
If Apple’s can do one thing, it’s making technology an accessory. Apple started buying up small businesses years ago that deal with AR and other technologies required for smart glasses, and Apple’s website says, “Augmented Reality is a new way of using technology. It’s changing the way you work , learn, play and interact with almost everything around you. And that’s just the beginning. Welcome to a new world.”
For a company that likes to keep its plans under wraps, these are pretty big words. Especially when you consider that AR hasn’t produced much more than a couple of Pokémon GO games and a tape measure app. Apple’s promise at least suggests that the company has bigger plans for AR.
Apple’s vision is to create stylish and fully functional glasses that can project all of the functions that are important in everyday life into the field of vision using augmented reality without being connected to a smartphone. The company seems to be certain that these glasses will have largely replaced smartphones within the next decade.
But why exactly should Apple of all people succeed in this coup and why now? The YouTube channel PolyMatter deals with why Apple could actually be right with its initiative right now. In the development of new technologies, there is often a primitive prototype at the beginning, which triggers a hype, which is followed by disappointment with its primitiveness.
Meanwhile, other developers have the opportunity to fine-tune the concept and perfect it. Nothing particularly exciting has happened in the smart glasses sector since Google Glass and Apple has already implemented this tactic several times, for example with the first iPhone in 2007.
One of the greatest challenges for smart glasses is also the point of design. Who wants to keep walking around with a clunky piece of technology? With the Apple Watch or its Airpods, for example, Apple has proven itself to be a master at turning a practical device into a chic lifestyle accessory. It remains to be seen whether the Californians will succeed this time. In any case, Apple has set itself an ambitious task with Smart Glasses.