With tablets pretty much hanging by a thread nowadays, traditional PCs stagnating after a free fall from mainstream popularity, smartphones heading for their first ever decline, and smartwatches still seeking that compelling use case, Apple is left wondering what the industry’s “next big thing” might be.
Self-driving cars? Autonomous virtual reality headsets? How about AR-based smart glasses? That latter concept is reportedly worth a revisit and second R&D try following Google’s monumental failure of getting it off the ground, sealed just last year.
Google Glass, or Project Glass, was very enthusiastically received by “explorers” back in 2013, but privacy and safety concerns, not to mention battery life shortcomings and, well, a decidedly douchey design ultimately killed the oh-so-full-of-promise wearable initiative.
Since then, many tech veterans and big fishes showed interest in VR hardware and software rather than AR, including El Goog, Samsung, HTC, Sony and Facebook. Not Microsoft though, which remains invested in mixed reality HoloLens gear powered by the Windows Holographic platform, while Apple is likely still in the early stages of any sort of development in this field.
Don’t expect an advanced Apple Glass prototype to be outed before 2018 therefore, and like other projects in Cupertino “exploration” and careful consideration, a pivot, pause or altogether cancellation are always possible.
As for what the product may do if it ever materializes, all we know is it would probably “connect wirelessly to iPhones, show images and other information in the wearer’s field of vision”, as well as “use augmented reality” technology… somehow. That’s certainly vague but also arguably intriguing.