Apple is reportedly working on a pair of connected augmented reality glasses in collaboration with German precision optics specialist, Carl Zeiss, according to the website 9to5Mac.
The rumor comes from American blogger Robert Scoble, who reportedly spoke to Carl Zeiss employees at the recent Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. They apparently confirmed that Apple is working on a pair of lightweight augmented reality glasses. Although the information remains unconfirmed, it isn't the first time that the Cupertino tech firm has been linked to such a project. In fact, Bloomberg reported in 2016 that Apple was developing this kind of device.
In reality, the augmented reality glasses are likely to function via connection to an iPhone. The Apple CEO has already spoken up as a greater believer in augmented reality technology than in virtual reality, adding further weight to the project's existence, even if it remains pure speculation. Robert Scoble even claims that the product could land as soon as 2017. Note that Carl Zeiss has already developed and launched a virtual reality headset, the VR One, which connects to a smartphone (Android or iOS).
Currently, the connected glasses market is still in very early days. Following the failure of Google Glass, it was Microsoft that caused a sensation in 2015 with its Hololens glasses, allowing wearers to interact with virtual reality elements in a real-world environment. Hololens is out now in selected countries priced $3,000 in the form of a developers' kit for professionals. In a completely different genre and on a smaller scale, Snaps has launched Spectacles glasses that can film and share short videos online on Snapchat.
CES 2017 brought a host of product announcements, notably the R8 and R9 glasses presented by Californian firm Osterhout Design Group. These use Qualcomm technology, making use of the latest Snapdragon 835 processor, and are due on sale in summer 2017, priced around $1,000 for the R8 and double that for the R9. Israeli start-up Lumus presented Maximus at the Las Vegas event. This prototype lets wearers experience virtual reality with a wide 55° field of view, and can be added directly to regular glasses. Maximus could also come to market soon.