24 May 2020 02:38

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Apple Glass to include 'Steve Jobs Heritage Edition'

Apple's AR glasses have been a source of speculation for years, with patents dating back to 2015 and 2017 detailing AR-related software and hardware. But it wasn't until 2019 that it felt like Apple's highly-anticipated AR eyewear project would really happen as the rumor mill released more and more early information. But a new patent appeared in late 2019 that detailed what appeared to be the much-rumored Apple AR glasses, reigniting the potential of their existence. Other sources meanwhile have said they're still coming but have been delayed by years, with an AR headset apparently landing in either 2021 or 2022, followed by AR glasses in 2023. So there's a lot of confusion and debate around when or even if we'll get Apple glasses, but the latest leaks suggest they might be announced before too long, but won't hit stores until a lot later.

While you try and get your head around all that, let's take a look at all the Apple glasses leaks and rumors, as well as Apple's augmented reality background and why AR specs seemed like the next big move for the tech giant. Update: A massive leak has detailed the possible Apple glasses name, release date, price, and features. Plus the same source has said the company may be making a Steve Jobs Edition version of the glasses. A new Apple wearable, a pair of glasses using augmented reality tech When is it out? According to Jon Prosser (a reliable leaker), the Apple Glasses will be called Apple Glass and will be capable of displaying information on both lenses, with a user controlling them via gestures both on and in front of the frames.

All the processing would apparently be handled by a connected iPhone, and Apple Glass supposedly wouldn't have conventional cameras but would have a LiDAR scanner to power AR experiences. The same source also said that Apple is experimenting with a special Steve Jobs Edition version of the glasses. That would act like an Apple Watch Edition where the company sells a certain style of its product for a higher price. Another source for Apple leaks - Mark Gurman at Bloomberg - has also said the previous information isn't correct though, so take all of this with a big pinch of salt. We've also seen a bunch of Apple patents appear recently, explaining how specially-designed lenses could be used to cast images on a user's eye, and how a touchscreen surface (like an iPhone or an iPad) could be used as a controller.

Apple also filed a patent for a catadioptric optical system – a series of lenses designed to project images into a user's eyes – in early February this year. Augmented reality works a bit like that but with one big difference. First revealed at WWDC 2017, ARKit is a new set of APIs to let developers build augmented reality applications for Apple devices. They can now create apps that use the cameras, processors and sensors in your iPhone or iPad and use this information to overlay virtual objects onto the real world. It's long been suggested that the real future of Apple's augmented reality road map would be AR glasses.

Right now, there are a number of augmented reality glasses already on the market from companies like Vuzix, Epson and Vue. But many of them are reserved for enterprise use (in big businesses), are being used by developers or have been built for a rather niche purpose. Spotted by Patently Apple, the filing shows a fairly standard design for a pair of glasses with added smarts on board. What's more, according to a patent filed by Huawei at the World Intellectual Property Organization (and spotted by LetsGoDigital), the company is experimenting with a pair of AR glasses that are lightweight but only work when you insert your smartwatch into them. According to a 2017 patent, Facebook's AR glasses could use a 'waveguide display' to combine computer graphics with the real world – essentially an advanced method of giving the illusion of depth on specs right in front of your face. Based on the patent images, the AR glasses could look just like a regular pair of glasses, which means there will be lot of complex, miniaturized technology to get right before they can be released.

These advanced smart glasses were tipped to change everything, from tech to the way we live, by overlaying layers of information onto the real world. Although the troubled story of Google Glass may sound like a bit of a failure (at least when it comes to consumer traction), it actually taught tech companies a great deal about building AR, tech-enabled eyewear and the challenges of bringing a whole new product category to market. As per the latest rumors, Apple is apparently working on a special Apple Glass variant, which will have the same look as the round frameless glasses that Steve Jobs used to wear. These limited edition glasses will be called 'Steve Jobs Heritage Edition' and will be a collector's item, similar to the original gold Apple Watch Edition. In case you don't know yet, Jon Prosser is the same tech analyst who had correctly predicted the features, price, and release date of iPhone SE and the new 13-inch MacBook Pro. He had also previously come out with details of Apple Glass, in which he shared features and release timeframe. Similar to the original Apple Watch, processing for the Glasses will be handled by a paired iPhone. Rumors of an Apple augmented reality headset have been around for years, but in the last few weeks speculation has rapidly begun to ramp up, alongside suggestions that the product could be shown off as early as this year, and might even ship as early as next year. Though Apple has had its share of product leaks over the years, it's still a company that plays things extremely close to its chest—especially when it comes to prototype hardware. But the sheer number of rumors and amount of speculation are probably based on something, so it's not a bad time to take a look at what a pair of Apple smart glasses could be, and the challenges that they have to overcome. Apple's been talking up augmented reality for what seems like forever, with Tim Cook frequently calling it out as a specific area of interest. And the company recently rolled out the new iPad Pro, its first device with LIDAR, which is a technology that has a lot of potential for AR. Real, compelling AR devices are, if not quite the Holy Grail, then at least one of those products that tech companies have been trying to nail for years. As with the Apple Watch, iPhone, iPod, and even the Mac, Apple is no doubt biding its the time to produce a highly polished product that will seem like the natural expression of such a technology. Apple's showed off a lot of things that augmented reality can do, from letting you play games that interact with the real world to apps that allow you to, say, measure a person's movement to help them treat an injury. But rumor has it that the glasses will at first act as a satellite device, much like early versions of the Apple Watch, which makes the smart watch an apt precedent to look toward. Now, this style of eyewear is known as "Steve Jobs Glasses" and newly leaked information suggests that Apple plans to offer a special "Steve Jobs Heritage Edition" of its AR powered Apple Glass. Apple is reportedly releasing a mixed reality headset next year followed by Apple Glass in 2022 or 2023 While Prosser says that the Apple Glass will start at $499 and support 5G, the "Steve Jobs Heritage Edition" would cost more. The tipster says, "They are also working on a prototype, a Steve Jobs Heritage Edition which is "similar to how we had an Apple Watch Edition, like that ridiculous $10,000 gold one when it first came out." Now Prosser isn't saying that a "Steve Jobs Heritage Edition" of Apple Glass will be $10,000, just that it will be very expensive. Bloomberg's Mark Gurman says that the rumor is "fiction." He also noted that there is some confusion because next year Apple is planning on announcing a device known internally at Apple as "N301." This would be a mixed reality (VR/AR) headset. In 2021 or 2022, he says, the product will be released in a special edition with round glasses, branded as the "Steve Jobs Heritage" model.