Apple AR glasses to be released next year?
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Apple's augmented reality glasses project can be considered a secret that... everyone knows, as the company has hired many AR-specialized engineers, registered a series of related patents, and tested hardware for over 2 years. However, according to a new report from Taiwanese supply chain site DigiTimes 2 months ago, Apple had stopped.
DigiTimes is a well-known source, providing early information on the development of products in Apple's supply chain, with both critical and trivial information. The accuracy of the messages provided by DigiTimes is sometimes incorrect, but most of the time they are quite accurate. But maybe that Apple news was wrong this time.
Accordingly, a series of signs of the existence of an AR-enabled application has been found in MacRumous's documents related to the internal test version of iOS 13 recently. This fact shows that Apple is still cherished an ambitious augmented reality (AR) project, in stark contrast to previous speculations that it had disbanded the AR glasses development team.
The application called STARTester supposedly has an AR device simulation function, according to MacRumous. This app can switch in and out of head-mounted mode, apparently to copy the function of augmented reality headsets on iPhone for testing purposes.
In addition, MacRumous found a README file in an internal test version of iOS 13, describing a system called "StarBoard" for this AR-enabled application. The file also shows that Apple is developing an augmented reality (AR) device codenamed "Garta", which is possibly one of several prototypes codenamed "T288".
Previously, technology experts have speculated that Apple plans to release augmented reality glasses in early 2020, which could be called Apple Glass. This new AR device is expected to feature an integrated display, processor and operating system called "rOS" (reality Operating System), which will allow users to control manipulations such as touch, voice and head movements.
Although Apple hasn't launched any AR devices yet, the tech giant has been investing heavily in what is considered the future of technology. Recent iOS upgrades bring new technologies and enhancements to AR, such as the launch of the ARKit toolkit on iOS 11. Apple CEO Tim Cook previously stated so many times that augmented reality is more important than VR (virtual reality).
"I see AR as being profound," said Tim Cook last year. "Today I can tell you the technology itself doesn’t exist to do that in a quality way. The display technology required, as well as putting enough stuff around your face - there's huge challenges with that."
The options that Apple is researching somehow coincide with AR headsets from its rival companies, including Microsoft's HoloLens, Magic Leap One from Magic Leap, and Nreal Light.
Although AR has not received much attention from consumers, mainly because of the high price of hardware and limited applications, Nreal's $ 500 AR headset is expected to be a breakthrough in the market this year.
Notably, Nreal was sued a few months ago by the Magic Leap, in which Magic Leap accused Nreal founder of stealing technology and concepts so that this startup could create a quite affordable product without spending years paying R&D costs.
Like Nreal, Apple is said to be developing an AR glass design that's not very different from traditional glasses. When Apple announced chief designer Jony Ive was about to leave the company to set up his own design company, LoveFrom, many reports indicated that Apple's in-house design team was currently working on an AR glass project, and that project was one of the company's new initiatives.
Apple has never commented on unpublished projects so far, and so we will probably have to wait until next year to learn about the truth.
By: Quinn Abram