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Just this past October, Google announced the very first smartphone featuring hardware and software “made by Google.” Although the phone, known as the Google Pixel, is technically the successor to Google’s Nexus brand, and is technically manufactured by HTC, Google clearly put a lot of work into it, and it’s making quite a stir. The Pixel is the latest in a long line of “iPhone killers” – Android devices designed to compete directly with the iPhone. The Pixel boasts some pretty impressive specs, and aside from the fact that it surprisingly doesn’t feature waterproofing, it performs in real world tests almost as well as the iPhone 7 does. However, the Pixel does boast one feature that the iPhone 7 doesn’t – virtual reality support.
The Google Pixel comes equipped with support for Google’s DayDream Virtual Reality platform. The DayDream platform already has an impressive line up of apps, movies, games, and even live events available to its users, who rate it as probably the best virtual reality experience to hit the mainstream yet.
The technology is still young, however, and Apple has, thus far, expressed little interest in jumping into the virtual reality market. According to popular blogger Robert Scoble, however, Apple may be working on some augmented reality (AR) technology, working with German optical technology company Carl Zeiss AG on a pair of augmented reality glasses. Scoble, who was attending this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), recently claimed in a Facebook post that a Zeiss employee confirmed to him “Apple and Carl Zeiss AG are working on a light pair of augmented reality/mixed reality glasses that may be announced this year.”
A November report from Bloomberg, “people familiar with the matter” claim that Apple is looking at adding digital glasses to their product lineup. The digital glasses would, according to Bloomberg‘s sources, “connect wirelessly to iPhones, show images and other information in the wearer’s field of vision, and may use augmented reality.” Apple CEO Tim Cook, according to the article, had expressed an interest in augmented reality after the success of Pokémon Go. During a conference call with analysts in July 15, Cook reportedly said “AR can be really great, and we have been and continue to invest a lot in this… We are high on AR for the long run. We think there are great things for customers and a great commercial opportunity.”
A release date for such a product is unclear. While Scoble mentioned in his post that the glasses may be announced this year, he followed with the comment that he “thought it was next year.” The Bloomberg report puts the introduction of Apple-designed digital glasses in “2018 at the earliest,” although people are already speculating that the September release of the iPhone 8 may see an augmented reality announcement.