I’ve been hearing rumors about this for nearly a year, including multiple off-the-record discussions with people in the know.
Apple will be launching an augmented-reality phone this fall, and AR-glasses (if not this fall, in 2018).
Imagine Google Glass + Microsoft Hololens + Snap Spectacles, at an affordable price point and with functionality within the iOS ecosystem.
At SXSW earlier this month, my friend Robert Scoble told me, “It’s insane we’re at the biggest interactive conference in the world, and nobody is talking about Apple. A year from today, this is all anyone will be talking about.
Brands who aren’t experimenting with AR today will be behind when Apple goes all-in with AR later this year. The time to start is today!
Apple is working on several AR products, including digital spectacles that could connect wirelessly to an iPhone and beam content—movies, maps and more—to the wearer. While the glasses are a ways off, AR features could show up in the iPhone sooner.
Over time, Munster says, AR devices will replace the iPhone. “It’s something they need to do to continue to grow,” he says, “and defend against the shift in how people use hardware.”
Augmented reality is the less known cousin of virtual reality. VR gets more attention because it completely immerses users in an artificial world and has an obvious attraction for gamers. So far, however, headsets like the Oculus and HoloLens are niche rather than mainstream products. Apple believes AR will be an easier sell because it’s less intrusive. Referring to VR headsets, Cook last year said he thought few people will want to be “enclosed in something.”