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Apple rumored to be testing different AR prototypes, unsure of its vision for AR

By Cookie Monster - on 7 Aug 2017, 12:00am

Apple rumored to be testing different AR prototypes, unsure of its vision for AR

9 months ago, Bloomberg reported that Apple was considering to expand into digital glasses as part of its push into augmented reality (AR). However, the Financial Times (FT) paints a different picture of Apple's progress in this field. 

Sources told the FT that Apple still does not have a clear vision for the digital glasses yet even though the ARKit has been released to developers for a few months. Therefore, Apple is said to be experimenting with "several different kinds of prototypes" with one group of engineers pushing for a pair of 3D glasses that have 3D cameras, no displays and have to use the iPhone as the hub and main display.

A particular area of experimentation, people familiar with the matter say, is a pair of AR glasses that might move cameras, sensors and screens from the smartphone to the face. Yet despite the excitement surrounding ARKit, internally the company is still not sure what the most compelling application for such a headset might be.

As a result, there are still several different kinds of prototype being experimented with, according to people close to the company. One group of engineers is said to be advocating for a pair of glasses that have 3D cameras but no screens, leaving the iPhone as the hub and main display.

The FT speculates that Apple's AR glasses could end up more like an accessory similar to Snapchat's Spectacles, though the final design of the AR product is still not decided at the moment. 

Considering how Apple CEO Tim Cook has publicly confirmed that the company is "high on AR for the long run" and that "there are great things for customers and a great commercial opportunity", it doesn't make sense that the company has no clear vision on the applications of VR.

Furthermore, Apple has reportedly gone to great lengths to assemble a multi-disciplinary team working on AR products. UBS analyst Steven Milunovich wrote in March this year that there are more than 1,000 engineers working on AR for the iPhone 8.

Source: FT via 9to5Mac

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