This is the second article of a two-part dive into Apple Inc.‘s (NASDAQ: AAPL) development of its next two lines of mixed reality (MR) devices. Before going any further, we suggest you read our explanation of Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), MR and Extended Reality (XR) as well as the first article in this series.
What happened: Apple is expected to launch a VR headset with AR passthrough capabilities for professionals at a hefty $3,000 price next year, after readying its even more ambitious AR-focused glasses for general consumers. This is the first generation of a device intended to replace the iPhone further down the line, at a much more accessible price of $499.
The Cupertino tech giant has been working on augmented reality and virtual reality since at least 1995.
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The device is rumored to be called apple glasses, should be much more advanced than anything on the market, with a form factor similar to regular glasses and both glasses with screens and prescription lenses being an option. Users will be able to control the device with hand gestures.
The glasses will allegedly use state-of-the-art micro OLED displays made by the Japanese tech giant Sony Group Corp. (NYSE: SONY) with an extremely fast response rate, ultra-high contrast, wide color gamut, high luminance and low reflectance. The screens are expected to measure 0.5 inches and have a resolution of 1280 x 960 pixels, which matches Sony’s ECX337A component.
This screen will have a maximum brightness of 1,000 nits, a contrast of 100,000:1 and a response rate of 0.01 milliseconds or less. Such high contrast supposedly allows additional information to appear seamlessly, not overlaid, for a true AR experience.
Example of high contrast or low contrast AR display. Source: FRAMOS
The glasses will likely be marketed as iPhone accessories, displaying information and receiving input while leaving the bulk of the computing to the iPhone to provide an initial “seamless optical augmented reality experience.” This design ensures that all heavy and bulky hardware stays out of the glasses, allowing them to be slim and look like normal glasses.
Another (very debunked) rumor suggested that Apple is working on a commemorative limited edition “Steve Jobs AR Heritage” glass version that resembles the round rimless glasses worn by its legendary founder, which would likely be released in the years to come.
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