Although Apple is not the magnificent tech giant like they are 5 years ago, it’s still not too late for them to try AR/VR. It’s their next move now.
Apple may well be beat other virtual reality giants like Google by making a version of their already discontinued Google Glass. With this, they would be aiming to do augmented reality displays integrated to a pair of glasses. This report from Bloomberg News shows how Apple is still testing the waters in the smart glasses market and yet the final product is yet to be materialized. On a more optimistic estimate, the earliest time for this product reveal would be 2018. The company would have a lot of time to think about whether it would do AR and VR or just do the Apple Car instead.
Hiring more AR talents
Well, it has been a topic for months now that Apple is relentlessly hiring some AR talents and having some manpower to create some consumer product for virtual reality. Even the Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has been answering AR-related queries on its quarterly reports. What does he think of AR and VR? He thinks the technology has more potential than its virtual reality counterpart and coyly hinting at Apple’s plans to enter the space. However, as of September of this year, Apple continues to hire both AR and VR experts, leaving open the possibility that it could develop products in both categories.
Buying AR startups
Bloomberg reports that Apple may well have talks under way with potential suppliers for the components needed for near-eye displays needed for VR headsets. Its got expert companies like PrimeSense, Metaio, and Flyby. These are all startup companies specialized in AR software, 3D mapping and computer vision. And guess what, Apple acquired all of these companies in the course of three years.
What is the goal?
Apple’s goal is very simple. Make glasses that will have the capability to wirelessly connect to an iPhone and make overlay information to the user’s field of vision.
How hard is it to do AR?
Augmented reality is the next big thing, as Tim Cook said but it’s really hard to make it debut in the right light. Google Glass, the inspiration for Apple’s future AR glasses, was a huge disappointment. This was in part contributed to how AR is now perceived to have a bad image to the public. The Microsoft Hololens was the best AR headset by far, however, it is just for developers who are members of Microsoft’s dev programs and it costs $3000.
Meanwhile, the rest of the tech community has turned its focus to VR. Google has its Daydream platform and new View headsets, while Facebook-owned Oculus VR and Samsung are working on all manner of high-end and mobile headsets. It’s unclear where Apple will fall on the spectrum, but Cook remains bullish on AR. “There are some really hard technology challenges there, but it will happen in a big way, and we will wonder when it does, how we ever lived without it,” he said of AR last month.