Apple’s long-rumored AR glasses may come a little later than expected. The Information report gives a much later date than The 2020 date previously revealed by Bloomberg.
At an internal meeting in October, Mike Rockwell, head of apple’s AR/VR division, unveiled the AR roadmap to a team of up to 1,000 people. Among them, the company plans to release a headset with AR and VR functions in 2022, which is similar to Oculus Quest, an all-in-one VR machine, but thinner. And will introduce lighter AR glasses in 2023.
From apple’s continuous acquisition of AR technology companies in recent years, to the launch of AR development platform ARKit in 2017 and its continuous iteration to version 3.0, to internal organizational adjustments, and to the continuous Revelations from media and channels, it shows that Apple is constantly working on AR/ VR, a young platform.
Within a decade, replace the iPhone
During the meeting, employees experienced a demo through the apple display: the virtual coffee machine was placed on the real kitchen table, and the people standing behind the coffee machine were covered. This is a real AR experience. At this time, there are still images of the real world in people’s field of vision. The head can display virtual objects that can be superimposed on the real world, and they have “interaction” with the real world. For example, they can be placed on the ground and attached to the wall to enhance reality.
In order to “understand” the real scene in front of the person, the head display needs to be positioned and mapped in real-time. Apple’s external camera head, code-named N301, captures and tracks feature points in the real world, then converts that reality into digital information so that AR objects can be folded accurately. Executives say the apple helmet is more accurate than the ability to exist devices on the market to plot the surface, edges and size of a room.
AR demonstration | Apple
It also comes with a high-resolution display lens that allows users to see smaller fonts in the interface. CNET reported last April that Apple was working on a headset that could run both AR and VR, code-named T288, with an 8K resolution for the single eye.
Apple will also use as lightweight a material as possible on the headpiece to make it wearable for as long as possible. The AR glasses, code-named N421, are more radical, “designed to be worn all day long,” but the current prototype looks like “expensive sunglasses,” with a thick rim thanks to the battery and chips. Earlier this year, Apple applied for a patent for a feature that would darken the glasses to alert others to the wearer’s condition if they were having an AR experience.
AR office scene |Magic Leap
These design directions all suggest that Apple wants the hardware to stick with users for a long time, or even replace their iPhones. Executives at the conference expressed their vision that AR glasses, after iterations, could replace the iPhone in the next decade.
Start reaching out to developers in 2021
In order to realize this vision, apple has made continuous moves in technology acquisition, content development and organizational restructuring in recent years.
In 2017, apple paid $30 million for Vrvana, the Canadian company that developed Totem, a hybrid AR and VR experience. The current exposure of the apple head and Totem similar. That same year, Apple also acquired SensoMotoric Instruments, a computer vision company that specializes in eye-tracking technology and AR technology. Last year, Apple also bought Akonia Holographics, a maker of AR glasses and lenses.
In terms of content development, apple has updated ARKit to version 3.0 since it launched the AR software development kit ARKit in 2017. Updated the main functions such as character occlusion, simultaneous tracking with front and rear cameras, and multi-face tracking. In addition, Apple also released RealityKit at WWDC this year to achieve photorealistic rendering, environment and lens effects. Currently, there are more than 3,000 AR apps in the App Store. Apple now plans to reach out to third-party software developers in 2021 to encourage them to build apps for new hardware.
In addition, Apple has injected more AR/VR blood into the team. According to a review of apple’s internal organizational chart previously reported by The Information, most of apple’s new hires have backgrounds in video games, audio instruction, computer vision, and special effects, as well as several longtime supply chain and project management veterans. Apple also transferred software executive Kim Vorrath to the AR team in August.
Bloomberg reported in October that apple’s AR headset, which will be released next year, will sync with the iPhone and display messages, emails and maps in front of users’ eyes. The device will also have its own App Store. Guo Ming ð « creates predicted head show will start mass production in the fourth quarter of this year, released in early 2020, positioning for the iPhone In contrast, The Information reports mentioned later release date.
The current Revelations may have dampened expectations for the arrival of mainstream AR devices, but the young industry is gathering momentum.
Snap glasses and Google glass |Slate
According to IDC, sales of AR glasses will reach 31.9 million units in 2023, with a compound growth rate of 169% from 2019 to 2023. On the other hand, apple’s rivals are stepping up their r&d efforts. In September, it was reported that Facebook and ray-bans parent company had teamed up to develop AR glasses that would be independent of mobile phones and could be launched between 2023 and 2025. Snap is also developing fourth-generation AR glasses code-named Hermosa.
In 2017, cook told the press that smartphones are for everyone, and AR is for everyone. But he later said the technology to make high-quality AR headsets/glasses “doesn’t exist yet.” This mixture of expectation and disappointment may remain with the industry for the foreseeable future.