What is Apple glass? What we know about it so far

Apple is believed to be developing augmented reality glasses called “Apple Glass”. However, the glasses are at an early stage of development so little is known about what they will bring to the table. Most of the speculation surrounding the glasses stems from recent patents filed by Apple.

So what is Apple glass? In this article, we’ll cover everything that has been leaked about Apple’s new smart glasses, including their design, capabilities, and cost.

What is Apple Glass and what will it do?

Until now, smart glasses have generally functioned as stand-alone devices. Rumor has it that the Apple Glass will act primarily as an iPhone accessory, leveraging the computing power of the iPhone to deliver an augmented reality (AR) experience. In this way, it will bring your phone information directly to your eyes. This will include features like text, email, apps (like maps), virtual meeting rooms, 360-degree video playback, and games.

Apple Glass will likely connect to the iPhone through a dedicated WiFi connection to match the bandwidth needed to transmit 3D images and videos at a sufficient frame rate.

A glass of apple patent suggests that users will be able to access Apple Maps’ Look Around feature (similar to Google’s Street View) in immersive AR. They may also be able to tune some sort of night vision using depth sensors.

Apple glass design

Apple-Glass-Design

Image Credit: USPTO Apple Glass Patent Drawing “

Apparently, the design of the Apple Glass prototype looks like an ordinary pair of plastic glasses. Since Apple Glass is likely an accessory for iPhone, it should be much lighter than AR glasses that pack processors, cameras, and other bulky devices. Patents show that Apple glass looks like safety glasses, but that is unlikely to be the final design.

Regarding the style, color, shape of glasses and personalization, little is known.

Due to patent filed in 2020, it is also rumored that the Apple Glass could come with interchangeable arms with different features.

Will Apple Glass use glassOS?

Apple Glass is expected to run on a proprietary operating system known as Starboard (although it could also be glassOS) that includes an augmented reality framework.

Regarding battery life, no specific information was disclosed. However, looking at competing products, Apple Glass will likely have a battery life of at least three hours and maybe up to a full day. It can also feature a case or a wireless charging platform like with Apple AirPods. Since the glasses will be offloading a lot of the processing work on the user’s iPhone, we can expect more battery life than the competition that does the processing in the device.

Camera

Supposedly, the Apple Glass will have a LIDAR sensor on the right temple. Right now, it looks like the Glass won’t have another camera. This move is supposed to address the privacy concerns raised by smart glasses. However, another Apple patent suggests that the Glass may have a detachable camera module. This means that the wearer can remove the camera from places where filming is illegal or unethical.

Interestingly, the Apple Glass may be able to identify nearby sounds. The patent is called “Audio-Based Feedback for Head-Mountable Device” and can provide capabilities similar to sonar.

Display and interface

Apple Glass will likely feature Sony OLED micro-displays. These have an ultra-fast response rate, high contrast, wide color capabilities, low reflection, and a thin and light design. Supposedly, Apple Glass will feature a 0.5 inch wide screen with a resolution of 1280×960 pixels. The field of view is likely to be at least 52 degrees.

How Apple Glass will be controlled is uncertain. Apple has various patents for touch screens, voice activation, and hand gesture control mechanisms. For example, one patent shows rings that a user can wear. The rings follow the movements of the fingers and hands as a method of order entry into Apple Glass.

Apple rings

Image Credit: USPTO Patent Drawing

One interesting possibility is that Apple Glass wearers won’t need corrective lenses due to a vision correction system that can adjust automatically for those who typically require prescription glasses.

Confidentiality concerns

When Google Glass originally came out, it faced a lot of backlash about the permanent camera recording, including banning wearers from movie theaters.

A new patent filed by Apple suggests that the Apple Glass camera can be included as a removable module, supposedly as a way to combat privacy concerns. Another patent examines potential mechanisms to alert passers-by that this is a recording.

An alternative method describes a flashing light on an external camera to show viewers if the camera is recording. Additionally, Apple is exploring several methods to ensure that a connected camera can be turned off or visible to people in order to address privacy concerns.

Apple is obviously taking the time to consider several alternatives for camera-related privacy concerns.

Another concern is that others will be able to peek into your glasses and read what is displayed. It is not yet clear how Apple will solve this problem.

Apple Glass price and release date

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Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes Apple Glass will see a release in 2022. However, previously various commentators believed they would be released in 2021, so it’s not certain. Apple has not released any information on the release date of the glass, and speculation suggests it could be several years before they see them on the market.

Jon Prosser, a well-known Apple leaker, believes Apple Glass will be priced at $ 499 and will include prescription charges for the lenses. If this is true, it is a very accessible and competitive price. To give a bit of context, other smart glasses range from $ 799 (the Vuzix Blade) to over $ 3,000 (the Hololens 2). Even the Razer Anzu smart glasses cost $ 199, and they just offer audio and eye protection.

Apple attacks the virtual reality market

Apple is improving its game when it comes to AR and VR products. Alongside Apple Glass (and expected to release much sooner) is Apple’s next VR headset.

There is a lot of speculation. Not much is known about Apple Glass. For these smart glasses to succeed where their predecessors weren’t, they’ll need to deliver a lot more in terms of functionality while also addressing myriad privacy concerns.


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