Don’t look now, but smart glasses seem like a possibility once more. Google Glass famously flamed out in 2015 after turning into more of a meme than useful hardware, effectively ending the company’s flirtation with wearable tech above the neck. Now, Apple has assumed the mantle of Silicon Valley Optometrist, and is actively working toward releasing its own version of Google’s much maligned and roundly mocked smart specs.
The difference? AR technology.
AR, or augmented reality, is the same tech that powered Pokémon GO to meteoric heights. By projecting graphics onto the visual field—and not completely overwhelming it, the way virtual reality does—AR allows for integration such as maps movies directly into the wearers’ lens.
Used in coordination with an iWatch or iPhone via Bluetooth, the glasses will utilize the heft of other Apple hardware, such as battery and download capability, to provide a seamless reality/augmented reality experience.
Reports suggest that Apple will first incorporate AR technology into the next incarnation of the iPhone, expected this year. Consider a bit of a toes-in-the-shallow-end test of augmented reality’s effectiveness on Apple’s most popular—and most profitable—product.
Should consumers respond positively to the introduction of AR on the iPhone, it’s a safe assumption that it will begin to appear in Apple’s other tech offerings.