Apple Glass, Apple's elusive AR lenses project, is coming whether we like it or not, and we're beginning to see what the futuristic, first-generation wearable could look like.
When we first heard word of "Apple Glasses," rumors suggested the lenses would launch this year. But with Apple's 2020 product line fully fleshed out with the likes of the iPhone 12, Apple Watch 6 and AirPods Studio, the near future Apple augmented reality glasses looked blurry.
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One reliable analyst said Apple Glass could come as soon as next year, while another longtime source for Apple product releases believes the release won't happen until 2022. Either way, the project is definitely in the works.
Apple Glass is expected to run on Starboard, a proprietary operating system uncovered in the final version of iOS 13. The augmented reality framework shows up multiple times in code and text documents, meaning Apple is likely testing activation and application.
At WWDC 2020 in June, the company is expected to update the world on its AR efforts, and perhaps we'll catch a glimpse of Apple Glass as soon as then. The company allegedly planned to unveil the lenses as a "one more thing" announcement at its annual fall keynote, but might wait due to global tech delays.
Here's everything else we know about Apple Glass, including the potential release date, price, design and specs.
Latest iPhone 12 news (updated May 28)
- A stunning Apple Glass design has surfaced online, and let's just say Apple can take our money if this what its first AR lenses look like.
- According to Jon Prosser, Apple Glass won't ship with a built-in speaker system. Instead, wearers will be encouraged to own Apple's AirPods for audio integration.
Apple Glass release date
According to TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo — perhaps the most reputable and reliable Apple expert — Apple Glass won't be ready to ship until 2022 "at the earliest." However, a presentation shown internally at Apple and leaked to The Information sets the launch date as 2023.
But both could be wrong — Jon Prosser, a reputable Apple leaker, says Apple Glasses could come sooner than we thought. Prosser believes the launch is aimed for "March-June 2021."
Prosser also says the company will announce Apple Glass before it's ready to ship, much like it waited several months to sell the first-generation Apple Watch after its debut. Apple allegedly wants members of the media present for the unveiling, so it could wait until in-person tech events resume.
I can’t believe I’m going against Kuo on this one... but I believe he’s wrong. Apple Glasses are aimed for March-June 2021. Also. I’ve seen them. They’re sleek as hell. 👀Will be showing you soon 🤫 https://t.co/0GaOYDA5N8May 15, 2020
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 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 less 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 Glass 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.
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 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 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.
We will keep updating this page as more Apple Glasses rumors and leaks come out. Make sure to bookmark and come back.