It's been a while since we've heard substantial rumors about the Apple Glasses, meaning the long-rumored augmented reality smart glasses are likely far away from launching.
But while it's looking like we will still have a couple of years to wait before they are revealed, the new Apple Vision Pro headset gives us a hint at what tech and form the Apple Glasses could eventually take.
Expect augmented reality, eye-scanning features, and clever rendering to be employed, as well as advanced lenses and materials.
For now, it'll take a lot for us to wear Apple Glasses. But until we know more, here's everything we know about Apple Glasses, including the potential release date, price, design and specs.
Latest Apple Glasses news (updated June 5)
- Apple's WWDC 2023 keynote has come and gone, and while we got to see the reveal of the Vision Pro VR/AR headset, there was no hint at the Apple Glasses.
- A new report from Bloomberg's Mark Gurman says Apple Glasses are reportedly ‘at least four years away’ — if it ever happens at all.
- Ming-Chi Kuo has the Apple Glasses tipped to arrive in 2026, given the analyst suspects the metalenses the glasses will likely be based on won’t even begin production until 2024.
- Apple Glasses are reportedly delayed again, due to technical challenges in their development. Apple could end up releasing a cheaper mixed-reality headset instead.
Apple Glasses release date rumors
We would not expect the Apple Glasses release date to be anytime soon. While we've now got the Apple Vision Pro headset, its hefty $3,499 price tag and goggle-like design would suggest Apple has some way to go before it can create truly advanced AR glasses.
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has tipped the Glasses to arrive in 2026. That's because Kuo has the belief that the metalenses the glasses will likely be based on won’t even begin production until 2024.
A Bloomberg report also corroborated a delay, noting technical challenges involved in making Apple Glasses a reality. In fact, these challenges may be so significant that the expectation is that Apple Glasses are "at least four years away." In fact, there's now significant buzz that they may never see the light of day. Apple may now be prioritizing a cheaper version of its mixed reality headset instead, with a possible 2024 or 2025 launch.
Apple Glasses price
According to Prosser, the Apple Glasses are currently priced at $499, plus prescription fees. Now that may seem low, especially compared to competing augmented reality headsets like the Microsoft Hololens 2.
Hololens 2 has a price tag of $3,500 but a big part of its cost comes from having all the electronics needed to run the AR experience built into the headset.
Apple Glass, rather, will rely on a companion iPhone for processing, so it will have significantly fewer parts and complexity than Hololens. It'll work more like the Vuzix Blade smart glasses, which have a built-in camera and Alexa integration.
Still, Vuzix Blade starts at $799. Apple's entry point is significantly more accessible, costing as much as some of it's top-specced smartwatches.
Apple Glasses features: What they'll actually do
According to a Bloomberg report, the Apple AR Glasses will bring information from your phone to your face. Specifically, the eyewear "are expected to synchronize with a wearer’s iPhone to display things such as texts, emails, maps, and games over the user’s field of vision."
Apple also has plans for third-party apps, and is considering a dedicated app store, similar to how you get apps for the Apple TV and Apple Watch.
Furthermore, a patent granted to Apple has further fuelled the rumor that Apple Glass won’t need prescription lenses as the smartglasses will automatically adjust for people with poor eyesight using an “optical subassembley”. However, this patent could be for a standalone smartphone-powered VR headset or a second-generation pair of Apple smartglasses.
A more recent patent also suggests that Apple may employ a projection-based system that beams images directly into the user's eye. This way Apple would skip the need for any sort of transparent display.
The beam would likely be able to ensure the image always stays in focus too, avoiding the issue of displays that also double as prescription lenses. Presumably, however, the frames would still be able to double as regular prescription glasses for those that need them.
The patent also claims that this avoids a lot of the pitfalls people may suffer in VR and AR. Apple explains that some issues, including headaches, nausea, and eye strain occur because the brain it trying to focus on objects in the distance, when the reality is they're on a display less than an inch in front of the eyes. Because retinal projection better mimics how the eyes take in light anyway, these problems can be avoided.
Another Apple glass patent describes how you might be able to change out your backgrounds on the fly, similar to zoom. The patent describes how a headset could perform chroma keying, which is replacing a solid color background with something else.
The headset would “format camera images, detect the selected color range and make a composite with the virtual content. “
One Apple Glass patent points to how it could let you view parts of the world you want to see, similar to Google's Street View. The difference is that this view would be projected directly onto the Apple Glass lenses. And you could digitally teleport to different locations.
Apple has a similar feature in the Apple Maps app now called Look Around, but this would be much more immersive on Apple Glass.
A new Apple patent reveals that the Apple Glass may be able to let you change backgrounds on the fly, just like Zoom, too.
One of the more out there Apple patents suggest that Apple Glass could help you see better in the dark, via depth sensors that provide a greater look at the world around you.
Apple Glasses may also be able to track your finger and hand movements more accurately thanks to some smart rings Apple has patented. Not only will that negate the need for many (if any) external sensors, the system may be more accurate this way. Further patent wins for Apple have supported this theory that they will use wearables for a range of features, including support for finger gestures.
Plus the rings can detect what a user is holding in their hands, so the Apple Glasses can act accordingly. So if you're holding an Apple Pencil, the glasses will track your movements and translate them into handwritten text.
Another recent Apple patent makes mention of “privacy eyewear,” which would hint at a form of smart glasses, possibly the Apple Glasses, and how they could be used to keep what's on an iPhone's display private.
The idea here is that an iPhone's display would be blurred and only clearly visible through the pair of Apple smart glasses; see the patent image above.
Apple Glasses design
The most current Apple Glass prototype reportedly looks like an “un-intimidating” pair of plastic glasses, while marketing materials suggest a Clark Kent-esque design.
It has a LiDAR scanner on the right temple, but no other cameras for privacy reasons (although that could change.) The glasses also come with a plastic stand with wireless chargers.
Being an accessory to the iPhone will definitely has implications on the Apple Glass design. Though the glasses won't be lightweight as your Ray-Ban aviators, they could be light enough and comfortable enough to work as everyday glasses.
There are no plans for the first generation of Apple Glass to come in a tinted variety. For the near future, you're stuck using your regular 'ole sun blockers. But if Apple Glass takes off, perhaps the company would consider expanding its offerings.
Apple Glass might also have a modular trick up its sleeve. The rumored pair of mixed reality glasses could feature swappable arms that each supply a distinct purpose or carry out a different function.
As for the Apple Glass displays, the headset may use Sony OLED displays for AR, according to display analyst Ross Young.
Apple Glasses specs
There’s no known specs about the Apple Glass yet, but we can speculate based on what we know about the current tech. For example, it will at least have the same field of view (52-degrees) and resolution (47 ppi) as the Hololens 2.
If Apple aims to create a true augmented reality solution — as opposed to a heads-up display that shows 2D floating notifications or maps, like Google Glass — it’s reasonable to expect the Apple Glasses to connect directly to the iPhone on a dedicated Wi-Fi connection.
If the iPhone has to process all the video captured by the glasses’ cameras and send back the 3D imagery to the glasses at a very high frame per second rate (a bare minimum of 60Hz, with a 120Hz refresh being optimal), it will require a much higher bandwidth than what Bluetooth can provide.
As for battery life, we can also expect a minimum of three hours if Apple wants to be competitive although we can assume that people will be more forgiving about this — especially if Apple provides with some kind of wireless charging glasses case that can extend its operative time through the day like with the Apple AirPods.
Apple Glasses privacy and patents
A patent spotted by Patently Apple explores a number of ways in which Apple Glass recording can be made obvious to bystanders who would prefer not to be caught on camera.
One option explored by Apple is making the camera module removable. “The modular accessory would also make it possible for venues such as bars and theaters to ban the modular accessory while still allowing the HMD frame (without the accessory) into the venues,” the patent reads.
Apple also imagines using lights to show when the device is recording, but unlike the original smart glasses, trying to get around this could ensure that the camera simply doesn’t work.
The patent describes how the lights on the camera could pulse in an encrypted pattern, with the lens capturing reflections in the recorded environment. If the camera can’t detect the pattern, recording could be disabled according to the patent.
As a third option, Apple suggests an alternative where the camera is always embedded, but disabled unless a modular key is attached to the frames.
The latest patents for Apple indicate that the Apple VR/AR headset could use gloves or Apple Watch to sense finger gestures and that these features could make their way to Apple Glasses.
Apple Glasses wish list: What we want
Glasses that look like glasses: We would like some natural looking glasses, like the ones in the concepts that you see on this page. I’m sure that Apple wants the same thing. No one wants AR glasses that look like geek-wear.
AR in full 3D: Some people would like just a heads-up display, but the true power of AR comes from full 3D integration. For Apple Glasses to be successful, you should be able to run any iOS AR app that currently works on the iPhone through the wearable device.
At least 8 hours of battery life: Assuming you're not running 3D AR apps all of the time and are periodically looking at notifications and 2D apps in between, Apple should be able to find a way to make Apple Glasses last through an average workday, though it may not happen in the first generation.
Here's everything else it'll take for me to wear Apple Glasses.
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