Proof is mounting that Apple is developing its own smart glasses for virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) purposes. The company recently advertised a position for a 3D user interface engineer who would “drive the next generation of interactive experiences to our platform”.
The successful applicant, the ad said, would work with advanced technologies such as VR and AR support provided in Metal 2 and ARKit.
An earlier report hinted that Apple might have its own AR glasses ready within two years.
Unlike a few other VR and AR solutions out there, Apple’s version will reportedly not require cameras or trackers. All the hardware will instead either be in a separate box or packed into the glasses. To connect with the box, the headset will utilise the WiGig 2.0 wireless standard, with no need for wires.
Apple’s CEO Tim Cook described AR as a “great commercial opportunity” two years ago.
Mixed reality glasses would come naturally after Apple’s exploits into AR. The firm has started to experiment with AR in its smartphones. As an example, the iPhone X enables owners to build AR emojis known as Animoji, and third-party developers can integrate AR features into their apps by using the iPhone’s cameras.
Apart from software, the firm is also developing hardware for its glasses, and it had filed an application for a lens system that would facilitate smaller glasses. Taking into account that you have to wear AR glasses on your face, reducing the weight and size would definitely make the whole experience more enjoyable, particularly if you want to wear them for an extended period.
Once Apple launches mixed reality glasses, it will, among others, have to deal with fierce competition from Facebook, Microsoft and HTC. Microsoft is promoting its Hololens to enterprise clients, while its cheaper Windows Mixed Reality headsets provide AR simulations on Windows 10. Other popular alternatives include the HTC Vive and Facebook’s Oculus.