Apple will start commercial testing of its Augmented Reality glasses very soon. Speculations are rife that the glasses will be up for sale as early as January 2018. Yes! That’s how quickly Apple intends to capture the market of virtual and augmented reality wearables. If Apple Watch was just the start, the Apple’s Augmented Reality Glasses will put the company on top of the visual hardware wearables exclusively meant for digital communication. What made the company accelerate its pace? Is it in response to the recent launch of Snapchat’s Spectacles?
Apple has been working secretly on the virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) for 10 years now. The Apple VR/AR Project was floated to acquire patents for AR devices that can be connected to iPhone VR headsets. In last two years, the project has gathered a momentous team, and it shows in the number of acquisitions that the company has made since 2015. Apple CEO Tim Cook himself confirmed that he prefers Augmented Reality over VR as it amplifies the human touch.
For Apple, the commercial scope of AR Glasses is higher than VR. Quicker it gets its Augmented Reality Glasses in the stores, longer it is expected to rule the market. Not to forget about its competitors. Facebook, HTC, Google, Microsoft and Samsung are all working on AR/VR platforms, but mostly in gaming and digital imagery segments; not on the real-world environment.
But one competitor has broken away from the league. Snapchat, now called Snap Inc., has already launched its video-recording sunglasses called Spectacles. At $130, this is affordable and way too customizable than Google Glass. How close will Apple’s Augmented Reality Glasses get to the Google Glass and Snap’s Spectacles?
Since 2013, Apple has acquired at least 6 major companies that make AR/VR products. PrimseSense, Metaio, Faceshift, Emotient and Flyby Media have been merged into Apple as on June 2016 and they are working separately on various VR technologies simultaneously. Top engineers and scientists from Facebook-Oculus and other VR/AR firms have since affiliated themselves with Apple, albeit secretly.
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It is obvious that Apple no longer wishes to rely on iPhone sales for its revenue. Its AR Glasses could well be the next-big-thing in the computer-aided environment. Sooner it comes, better it is for its long-standing loyalists.
For now, Snap’s Spectacles are sold at $999 on Ebay! Ouch…
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