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Evidence of Apple’s venture into augmented and virtual reality is continuing to mount, and according to one rumor, we could see an Apple AR device this year.
Robert Scoble, a tech blogger and proponent of virtual reality, doubled-down on rumors that Cupertino is working on a pair of smart glasses with Carl Zeiss, a German optics company. During the Feb. 5 episode of his podcast, This Week in Tech, Scoble predicted that the announcement of such a device could come as early as summer 2017, citing Apple sources “at the highest levels” — though, he noted that an announcement could be pushed back until sometime in 2018.
Just last month, Scoble was the first to break news that Apple and Carl Zeiss were working together on an AR device. In a Facebook post, Scoble claimed that a Carl Zeiss employee at CES 2017 confirmed that both companies were collaborating on a “light pair of augmented reality/mixed reality glasses,” and that such a device could be announced this year.
Similarly, a November Bloomberg article, which cited sources “familiar with the matter,” also claimed that Apple is looking into adding digital augmented reality glasses to its product lineup in the near future. Around that same time, renowned Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo backed up claims that Cupertino will soon delve into VR and AR, but added that we shouldn’t expect such tech for at least 1 to 2 years.
Scoble’s latest predictions comes hot on the heels of two Apple patents concerning virtual and augmented reality inventions, which were published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Jan. 31. Together, the two patents describe a head-mounted virtual reality device that could overlay information onto real-world objects and environments in a power-efficient way.
Interestingly, one of the patents describes how the invention could rely on the processing power of a separate and wirelessly connected device, such as an iPhone or wearable. In his podcast, Scoble made a similar prediction — forecasting a lightweight pair of glasses with most of its electronic components located elsewhere.
Apple’s exploration of virtual and augmented reality is well-documented, and CEO Tim Cook has expressed his interest in such technology on multiple occasions.
“AR can be really great, and we have been and continue to invest a lot in this,” Cook said during a July 15 conference call with analysts. “We are high on AR for the long run. We think there are great things for customers and a great commercial opportunity. So we’re investing.”