Apple’s Most Exciting Future Product Won’t Be Another iPhone

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Apple goes to some impressive lengths just to safeguard the details concerning its top secret projects and unannounced product plans. Back when some of the iPhone-maker’s closest competitors (such as Google, Microsoft, Oculus and Sony) were rushing to market with their first round of augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) hardware products, Apple remained conspicuously tight-lipped about its own AR/VR plans, leaving analysts to rely on rampant rumors, patents and oftentimes questionable supply-chain reports to forge an idea of what (if anything) the company could be working on.

Luckily, these reports, patents and a host of corroborations (even from the tech-giant’s Chief Executive, himself) have all-but confirmed that Apple is currently developing one or more styles of an extremely high-tech pair of eyeglasses for the consumer market.

Credible Apple Glass Rumors

While details about them are scant at this time, we do know the following about Apple’s breakthrough “eye-ware” product based on a wealth of previous patents, current analyst predictions and supply-chain reports:

  • The device(s) will embody a pair of high-tech and highly-sophisticated eyeglasses, potentially featuring lenses which can be swapped out to accommodate Rx prescriptions.
  • It/they will feature a unique blend of AR and VR applications — also known as mixed reality (MR) — which will run on a device-embedded CPU and a custom mobile operating system known as reality OS (rOS).

    Apple Glass Concept Images
    iDrop News / Martin Hajek

  • Some reports have cited the potential use of advanced technologies like class-leading 8K displays (as lenses) — through which virtual rOS menus, settings, apps and notifications might be navigable via gesture and ‘Taptic’ feedback. 
  • Some have suggested the high-tech eyeglasses will function only when tethered up to a “dedicated box” via “high-speed, short-range wireless technology,” as noted by CNET.
  • The device(s), currently known as Apple Glass (as supported by a number of technical patents and reports) is widely expected to debut within the late-2019 to 2020 timeframe.

Apple Glass’ Early Competition

Given the sheer quantity and technical detail of the information we currently have about them, it’s a near guarantee that Apple will [within the next few years] showcase its first Apple Glass eye-ware on stage much like it’s done with every major product announcement and refresh to date.

But what’s more interesting than Apple Glass itself, is to consider for a moment the current field of high-tech wearable eye-ware offerings — a burgeoning category that’s previously been tapped, though unsuccessfully, by companies like Google (with its fledgling Google Glass headset) and Snapchat (with their AR-enhanced and app-connected Spectacle smart glasses.)

New upstart firms, such as Lucyd and Vue, who are both currently advertising their products on various social media platforms, promise the world’s most first and most innovative smart glasses designed for everyday use with all-day battery life and more.

These offerings are available in a wide-range of styles, colors and configurations (i.e., readers, sunglasses, bifocals, etc) and come equipped with a host of advanced technologies like built-in activity tracking, audio playback and voice-controlled navigation with arm-embedded gesture-based input, Bluetooth connectivity and near full inter-compatibility with apps on the iOS or Google Play stores.

Apple’s Patience Is a Virtue

Taking a step back and considering the state of the wearable smart glasses market, at present, it’s clear as water that while most of these firms may not be aware of Apple’s ultimate plans, they’re nonetheless preparing in advance — by rushing to market their moonshot product offerings — for a showdown.

Because at the end of the day, while it’s certainly intriguing and exciting to see such a growing number of firms debut their smart eyeglass products, we know that Apple is working meticulously behind-closed-doors, as we speak, on a truly revolutionary product that will handily put them all to shame.

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