Just like everyone else with major resolutions, Apple‘s got big plans for 2020. The company is set to introduce major new augmented reality initiatives next year with new 3D rear sensors for the iPhone and the likely debut of Apple’s long-rumoured AR headset product; Apple AR Glasses.
These glasses are expected to synchronize with a wearer’s iPhone to display things such as texts, emails, maps, and games over the user’s field of vision. Apple AR Glasses may even come with a separate app store, which could make sense given how Apple uses different digital storefronts to dispense apps for macOS, tvOS and watchOS. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, a reliable reporter on Apple leaks these tidbits.
Gurman even claims that the Apple AR Glasses will hopefully be, “if all goes perfectly, an eventual successor to the iPhone.” But Apple first needs to find a reason to make its glasses seem like a necessity, nailing down the killer app that offers more than marginal convenience over a smartphone or smartwatch.
Bloomberg says that Apple aims to launch the headset in 2020, featuring holographic displays in the lenses. Although the exact form factor and use cases for the headset is still unclear. Considering that Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo previously said Apple would release an AR headset in mid-2020 with a “third-party brand collaboration.”
2020 is also expected to be a big year for the iPhone with a new external design, the addition of 5G networking, and new time-of-flight 3D sensors for the rear camera that will help with augmented reality applications. The new 2020 iPhones are also expected to feature OLED displays in new sizes: 5.4-inch, 6.1-inch, and 6.7-inch models.
Someone may ask what’s the difference between VR and AR headsets?
Many get AR and VR confused; VR (Virtual Reality) headsets are mounted on the head in a similar way to snorkelling goggles, but completely block your view of the outside world. The VR headset tracks your head movement, and the 3D image displayed inside the headset moves accordingly. This makes it appear as if you’re wholly inside a 3D ‘virtual’ world.
On the other hand, when it comes to AR (Augmented reality) headsets, the glasses are see-through and you can still see the world around you, but an image is displayed in front of your eyes.
In recent years AR hit the headlines first, thanks to Google Glass (which displays 2D images) and more recently with a headset developed by Microsoft called HoloLens that embeds 3D images in the world around you.
Microsoft’s HoloLens glasses are already available for developers; although anyone can buy one. It, however, costs a crazy price of $3,000, or $5,000 for the Commercial Suite which includes enterprise features. There’s now also a HoloLens 2 with upgraded features, but it’s still business-focused.
As for Google Glass, development of the consumer-focused product was halted back in 2015, but Google revealed a new-and-improved Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2 in 2019.
Apple’s AR eyewear seems to succeed where Google swung and missed with Glass, syncing with iPhones, and presenting data; including messages, maps and games, right in front of your eyes.