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Apple Glasses Will Include Lidar to Support AR

Image of AR Apple Glasses Will Include Lidar

Apple Glasses Will Include Lidar to Support AR

It seems inevitable that Apple will someday release a set of AR Apple glasses, and today we have a set of rumors from YouTuber Jon Prosser of the “Front Page Tech” YouTube channel. Prosser is a fairly new leaker, but AppleInsider has a good roundup of things he has gotten right in the past. He claims to have seen video of a prototype of the glasses and has a surprisingly long list of details for Apple’s Next Big Thing.

From an article in ARS Technica by Ron Amadeo.

First, we have a name. Prosser claims Apple’s AR glasses will be called “Apple Glass,” just like Google Glass. Apple Glass apparently looks like an actual pair of glasses and has a claimed “$499 plus prescription” price point. The report says the glasses are planned to be a “One More Thing” announcement in Q4 2020 or Q1 2021. Apparently, Apple originally planned to announce the glasses alongside the iPhone 12, but Apple “wants the media present” when Apple Glass is announced, so the plan is to wait out the whole coronavirus pandemic so people can be there in person. An actual launch would be nearly a year later in “Q4 2021 – Q1 2022.”

Prosser even claims he has seen a video of a prototype version of Apple Glass, and with the caveat that anything could change on the prototype, he shared a few more details. First, he claims “all data is processed on the iPhone” and gives the first-gen Apple Watch as an example of similar functionality. Presumably, that means the glasses will need to be paired to an iPhone at all times and that the glasses would, at a minimum, lack Internet connectivity. Prosser says the frames were plastic and could be charged wirelessly with an included stand. There was no camera on the device due to privacy concerns.

Prosser says the right temple houses a lidar sensor, which is most likely building on the miniaturization work Apple did on the 2020 iPad Pro. The iPad Pro has a lidar sensor in the camera array, which plugged in to Apple’s SDK and gave existing ARKit apps more solid tracking. There has been plenty of speculation that Apple’s current AR work is designed to smoothly transition developers to AR glasses apps, and this would line up with that speculation.

Avoiding the mistakes of Google Glass

The Apple Glass’ name and general product design will earn it a lot of comparisons to Google Glass, Google’s failed heads-up display that was originally released in 2013. It sounds like Apple doesn’t want to repeat a lot of the mistakes of Google Glass, and there are a number of key differences here. First, looking like an actual pair of glasses would be a big improvement over the Google Glass design, which looks like something a space alien would wear. Google Glass put a big block of glass in front of your face, which was distracting for the wearer or anyone talking to them. Glass has a single glass block, so it displays information in only one eye, while Apple Glass reportedly displays in both lenses.

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