Are Apple Working on an AR Headset?

Further rumours circulate on Apple's ambitions with regards to Augmented Reality.

Rumours that Apple are planning on releasing a virtual reality (VR) headset have circulated for years. Since Apple’s announcement that it was working on integrating VR and augmented reality (AR) features into the iPhone 8, those rumours have only gained in strength. However, current evidence suggests Apple are more likely to be working on AR Glasses than a VR headset.

Last month a leak by a Foxconn employee suggested that Apple were working on something called ‘Project Mirrorshades’ which was allegedly a set of AR glasses similar to the recently resurrected Google glass. A recent report by Bloomberg only strengthened this claim, with rumours that hundreds of engineers were working on an AR product.

An another source of rumours was an employee injury list from Apple, obtained by Gizmodo, who amidst the expected falls and cafeteria burns found two employees had suffered eye-related injuries. One of whom was testing an unknown prototype device who experienced discomfort upon seeing a laser flash. Another employee also reported eye pain after working with an unknown prototype, though its not know if this was related.

Apple Patent 759 - Fig.4

In January 2017, Apple were granted two patents that were related to ‘A wearable information system having at least one camera’. The patent goes into further detail, discussing the possibility of having more cameras, a scree and a user interface. Another patent granted in May 2017 shows a device for projecting a source image onto a HMD, with the patent also mentioning using a transparent image imposed on the real-world view.

Apple have remained typically tight-lipped on the possibility of an AR headset and its plans for the iPhone 8. Until Apple officially announce its plans, leaks, rumours and speculation is all consumers have to go on.

VRFocus will continue to report on Apple’s plans regarding VR and AR.

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