Denis Charlet/Getty Images
- The iPhone has gotten boring; it feels like the same, or near-same design, year after year.
- But Apple is reportedly working on a far more exciting project: a pair of smart glasses, which are expected to be announced as early as next year.
- Apple’s glasses have the potential to literally change how we see the world.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
We’re about one month away from Apple’s next iPhone, presumably called the iPhone 11.
But based on all of the reports, rumors, and images out there, the iPhone 11 doesn’t look much different from the iPhone XS, which was hardly any different from the year-prior iPhone X.
In short, the iPhone has gotten boring. But that doesn’t mean Apple isn’t cooking up something vastly more exciting.
According to rumors and reports dating back to 2015, Apple has assembled a massive team to design and build a pair of smart glasses, capable of augmented reality (AR) experiences — where you can see virtual or digital images laid on top of the real world. Apple has been investing in AR over the last several years: In 2017, it announced a toolset for app developers called ARKit, and Apple has continued building on that framework since then.
We’ve heard a lot about Apple’s rumored smart glasses — like how it will run on a new "reality operating system" called "rOS," how it will be powered by Apple’s A-series chips and leverage the computing and networking of the iPhone to keep the glasses lightweight — but what does this all mean? And why should you care?
Here are 7 reasons why you should be super excited about the potential of Apple Glasses.
1. Almost everyone wears glasses at least part of the time, for one reason or another. What if you could have one pair of glasses that could do it all?
At its most basic level, a pair of Apple Glasses should be able to do what normal glasses can do: improve your vision in certain conditions. It’s like how the Apple Watch also needed the baseline function of time-telling.
I don’t wear prescription glasses, but I do wear glasses when it’s sunny out. But imagine having just one pair of glasses that could be sunglasses, and your normal glasses, and do a bunch of other futuristic stuff only a pair of Apple smart-glasses could do?
Imagine having a pair of glasses that could tune themselves based on your visual needs. I have no idea if this is even possible — given how corrective lenses are a combination of several different factors that involve different lens types, shapes, and strengths — but it would be incredibly cool if Apple’s combination of glass and camera technologies could somehow combine to help you calibrate what you see through the lenses until everything is to your liking.
If Apple Glasses can be normal glasses, or sunglasses, or smart glasses whenever you need them, I’m not sure if I’d ever take them off (and I don’t need corrective lenses).
2. Augmented reality would be perfect for a pair of glasses. Imagine being able to learn about your environment just by looking at it.
Imagine stepping out into Times Square in New York City. It’s overwhelming, with all of the lights and sounds. What if your smart glasses could show you information about everything around you? Google is already developing this idea through its Lens technology, but it would be great in a pair of Apple Glasses, too.
You could see virtual signs pointing to each building, describing what you’re looking at. You could see all the major landmarks around you, like Rockefeller Center or Bryant Park, and know immediately exactly how far away you are from them.
What if you could even filter by category? Maybe you just want to see all of the restaurants around you, or all of the entertainment spots.
Perhaps Times Square wouldn’t be so overwhelming.
3. Apple is already hosting augmented-reality tours in major cities like San Francisco and New York City, which gives a preview of how the Glasses could work.
Apple recently launched a new program called AR[T], where the company hosts guided walking tours through major US cities using augmented reality. People are given headphones and an iPhone, and at various points along the walking tour virtual art will appear through the display of your iPhone.
It’s kind of like "Pokémon Go," where virtual creatures can appear all around the city depending where you walk — but for artwork.
So while AR glasses could help you learn about your environment, it could also help the local area come alive in new and exciting ways. Perhaps Apple will make permanent AR art tours in certain cities as a way to entice Apple Glasses users to explore their surroundings (and maybe Glasses wearers will get badges for finding virtual installations, in the same way Watch owners get badges for completing activities).
- How to turn on AirDrop on your Mac computer, and send files between your Mac and other Apple devices
- Snap has a new, much more expensive set of Spectacles coming this November for $380
- The Apple Card is a brilliant move by Apple to keep people shackled to the iPhone