Apple continues to work towards a new product line in the form of a set of augmented reality glasses, and it could launch in a year… though likely much more, reports the Financial Times (paywall link.)
The report says Apple has built a team around the potential new product and hopes to move towards a consumer release in the near future.
However, it notes that such a product may take “perhaps much longer” to produce.
“Apple first began to build a team to examine the feasibility of a head-worn device more than a year ago. Now, it is devoting more resources to its augmented-reality efforts, with the aim of taking it from a science project towards a consumer product, according to people familiar with the company’s plans.”
Apple has previously been reported as working on a set of glasses, that will likely use AR to overlay images and other information about a user’s surroundings onto their field of vision.
The FT says the earliest consumers can expect such a product will be 2018.
Though Apple aren’t the first to explore the idea of Smartglasses, they’ve a much stronger chance of succeeding where Google failed. The search giant trialled their smartglasses in beta for a long time before ultimately dismantling the project (though it may come back in some form in the future.)
Where Apple differs, is in its massive iPhone userbase. Much like the Apple Watch, expect Apple smartglasses to connect wirelessly to a smartphone, and operate in tandem with a device that much of its userbase will already own.
Apple’s Tim Cook is a well-known advocate of AR, so it’s no surprise Apple is steaming ahead down this road. Especially as Microsoft has already made in-roads into this industry with its HoloLens – a wireless, but self-contained headset. However, that device makes use of virtual reality, as well as AR, making it a mixed-reality device.
An early version of that device – known as the HoloLens Development Edition – was made available around a year ago… though that device costs $3,000 in the US and Canada.
Meanwhile, Apple is expected to gradually roll out the concept of AR to its users. There have been rumors that Apple use the iPhone’s camera in future iterations of the smartphone to incorporate facial detection. It could also include Snapchat-style filters to augment information onto images, but directly built into the iPhone’s camera.
Apple will be making some early steps into the former with its recently announced new app: Clips, which will include some form of face detection. Read more about Clips here.