Apple Plans AR Glasses Likely Aimed At Mass Market

Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2 (above) will get more company.

Apple’s next big thing might be augmented reality glasses, according to a research note from TF Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who follows Apple. 

Kuo, in his Wednesday note, says that unlike other glasses tested in the marketplace before, Apple is planning for its specs to be used as an accessory to its iPhones -- not packed with processing hardware -- so they will be less bulky.  

That also means, in a simple phrase, they will be less dorky.

Kuo originally said the glasses would be ready by mid-2020. In his new note, he said Apple expects the product to come to market early next year. Word of his report first came via website



“When I think about the recent history of augmented reality eyewear, I fondly remember being called a ‘Glasshole’ when sporting my Google Glass in public, and being too embarrassed to wear my Snap Spectacles in public,” wrote technologist Shelly Palmer in his Wednesday email blast to subscribers. 

Google Glass came out in 2013 but didn't last and wasn't very kindly received by the public -- as Palmer attests, certainly not that segment of the public with an eye for fashion. Wired called it the “Rent-a-RoboCop” look.

Google Glass was gone from the market by 2017 but relaunched this May, called the Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2, with a price tag of $999, but not really aimed at the general public.  (It’s pictured above.)

Apple will likely learn from Google's first misstep, and does seem to be aiming the glass at a mass market that could use them to access ordinary information.

Others< including Snapchat, Magic Leap, Vuzix and Epsonhave their own versions of AR glasses. They are marketed to doctors and others who used the glasses to simultaneously work on a project (or person) in front of them while viewing relevant information or schematics that display via the glasses.

Most notably, Microsoft marketed Hololens in 2016 and is now allowing pre-orders of Hololens 2, for up to $3,500. They're none too pretty.

The Hololens 2 website includes a video that appears to show surgeons, engineers and theatrical set designers using the glasses to guide their work. 

Kuo said next year’s iPhone lineup will feature devices with a new metal frame design inspired by the iPhone 4, and "the integration of composite materials” will drive up the cost. 

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