According to an exclusive Bloomberg report, Apple is thinking about launching its own smart glasses.
If the company pushes through with its plan, Apple would be entering a product category that was pioneered by the now defunct Google Glass.
Apple Smart Glasses Rumors
Bloomberg said that, according to sources familiar with the matter, Apple is still in the exploration phase for its smart glasses project.
The Apple smart glasses, however, is being planned to be able to wirelessly connect to iPhones, as well as show pictures and information to wearers. The device could also be utilizing augmented reality technology.
The exploration phase is at a seemingly advanced stage though, as Apple is already speaking with potential suppliers for the product. The company has even ordered near-eye displays in small quantities from a certain supplier to use for testing, the sources added.
The orders for components are too small to signal that mass production is starting any time soon, one of the sources said. Another person added that, if Apple would decide to move ahead with the smart glasses project, the introduction for the product would be by 2018 at the earliest.
Similarities And Differences With Google Glass
The description of the smart glasses that Apple is working on makes it seem like the device would be similar to the Google Glass, which ended sales in early 2015. Both devices will be focused on providing information to users, instead of immersing them in augmented reality experiences such as the Microsoft HoloLens or functioning as a social media tool such as the wildly popular Spectacles of Snap.
However, by connecting to the iPhone, the Apple smart glasses would circumvent a few of the challenges that Google Glass experienced, namely keeping weight down and streamlining design. With a constant connection to the iPhone, similar to how the Apple Watch works, the Apple smart glasses will not need to include too many electronic components as it can draw its functionalities from the iPhone.
The Fate Of The Apple Smart Glasses
Apple has been known to develop many projects internally, and often, these projects do not result in a product that the company releases for sale.
Early in the year, it was reported that Apple has formed a secret team of experts in the fields of virtual reality and augmented reality to work on the company's own virtual reality headset. As with the report on the Apple smart glasses, no product announcement is expected soon for the project.
The acquisition of components from suppliers reveals that Apple is serious about its smart glasses, but only time will tell what the fate of the project will be.