Apple Has Been Working On AR Glasses For Over 27 Years: What We Know So Far

Zinger Key Points
  • Apple has been working on AR and VR at least since 1995, now we're about to see the product of this hard work.
  • Apple Glasses' are the company's second AR product, aimed at general consumers for an expected $499

This is the second article of a two-part deep dive into Apple Inc.'s AAPL development of its two upcoming mixed reality (MR) device lines. Before reading any further, we suggest reading our explanation of augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), MR and extended reality (XR) as well as the first article of this series.

What Happened: Apple is expected to launch a VR headset with passthrough AR features for professionals at a hefty $3,000 next year, after it will ready its even more ambitious AR-focused glasses for general consumers. That is the first generation of a device meant to replace the iPhone further down the line, at a much more accessible price of $499.

The Cupertino tech giant has been working on AR and VR at least since 1995.


The device, rumored to be called Apple Glasses, is expected to be far more advanced than anything on the market, with a form factor similar to regular glasses and both lenses featuring displays and prescription lenses being an option. Users will be able to control the device with hand gestures.

The glasses will purportedly employ cutting-edge micro OLED displays manufactured by Japanese tech giant Sony Group Corp. SONY with an extremely fast response rate, ultra-high contrast, wide color gamut, high luminance and low reflectance. The displays are expected to be 0.5 inches and have a resolution of 1,280x960 pixels — corresponding with Sony's ECX337A component.

This display will have a max brightness of 1,000 nits, a contrast of 100,000:1 and a response rate of 0.01 milliseconds or less. Such a high contrast purportedly allows for additional information to appear seamlessly, not as an overlay, for a true AR experience.

Example of High-Contrast vs Low-Contrast AR Display. Source: FRAMOS

The glasses will likely be marketed as an iPhone accessory, displaying information and receiving inputs while leaving the computing heavy-lifting to the iPhone to provide a mobile-first "optical see-through AR experience." This design ensures that all the hefty and bulky hardware stays out of the glasses, allowing them to be slim and resemble normal glasses.

Another (much-disproven) rumor suggested that Apple is working on a commemorative limited-edition "Steve Jobs Heritage" AR glass version that resembles the round, frameless glasses worn by its legendary founder, which would likely be launched in the coming years.

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Posted In: NewsRumorsTechMediaAR GlassesAugmented RealityConsumer TechiPhonemixed realityvirtual reality
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