Apple began working on augmented reality glasses more than a year ago, sources say

Apple is gearing up “to create a pair of augmented reality glasses that could one day replace the smartphone as consumers’ primary computing device,” Tim Bradshaw reports for Financial Times. “Apple is stepping up its efforts in AR eyewear, according to people with knowledge of its efforts.'”

“Apple first began to build a team to examine the feasibility of a head-worn device more than a year ago,” Bradshaw reports. “Now, it is devoting more resources to its augmented-reality efforts, with the aim of taking it from a science project towards a consumer product, according to people familiar with the company’s plans. However, any launch is still at least a year away, perhaps much longer. Apple declined to comment.”

“As its engineers have become more adept at miniaturisation technology with products such as its AirPods wireless headphones and the iPad’s Pencil,” Bradshaw reports, “AR seems to have overtaken Apple’s secretive car project as the company’s top priority for its next big launch, beyond the iPhone.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: An excerpt from The New Yorker‘s February 23 & March 2, 2015 issue:

In 2011, largely thanks to advances in the miniaturization of technology, the answer seemed to be a wearable notification device paired to a phone — making it yet simpler to exchange messages of love, or tardiness. That summer, Google made an eight-pound prototype of a computer worn on the face. To Ive, then unaware of Google’s plans, “the obvious and right place” for such a thing was the wrist. When he later saw Google Glass, Ive said, it was evident to him that the face “was the wrong place.” Cook said, “We always thought that glasses were not a smart move, from a point of view that people would not really want to wear them. They were intrusive, instead of pushing technology to the background, as we’ve always believed.” He went on, “We always thought it would flop, and, you know, so far it has.” He looked at the Apple Watch on his wrist. “This isn’t obnoxious. This isn’t building a barrier between you and me.”

Now, that isn’t to say that Ive isn’t employing a tried-and-true Jobsian technique — talk it down until the day you unveil it — just that Ive said what he said as recently as 2015. And, of course, he was plainly selling the Apple Watch at the time.

How Apple might deliver Augmented Reality on the iPhone – March 1, 2017
Apple CEO Cook sparks predictions of augmented reality in iPhone 8 – February 27, 2017
Apple CEO Cook offers clues to Apple’s Augmented Reality strategy – February 14, 2017
Apple CEO Cook on Augmented Reality: ‘I regard it as a big idea like the smartphone’ – February 10, 2017
Apple working to integrate Augmented Reality capabilities into iPhone’s Camera app – November 17, 2016
Apple granted another Augmented Reality head-mounted display patent – November 10, 2016
Ming-Chi Kuo: Apple will have a 3-5 year lead in augmented reality; use as part of an autonomous driving system – November 2, 2016
Apple CEO Tim Cook: ‘We are high on Augmented Reality for the long run’ – October 14, 2016
iPhone 7 Plus is the starting point of Apple’s major push into augmented reality – September 28, 2016
iPhone 7 Plus proves Apple is gearing up for augmented reality – September 27, 2016
What iPhone 7 says about Apple’s future augmented reality plans – September 19, 2016
Apple needs to forget chasing Snapchat and go after the Augmented Reality industry – August 25, 2016
Tim Cook publicly confirms Apple has augmented reality plans – July 27, 2016
Apple acquires Flyby Media; assembles large team of virtual and augmented reality experts – January 29, 2016
Apple hires leading virtual reality researcher – January 22, 2016
Apple is building a virtual reality supply chain with disruptive potential, new research shows – November 19, 2015
Analyst: Apple team exploring virtual reality/augmented reality – August 31, 2015
Apple exploring a new reality with purchase of Metaio – June 3, 2015
Apple patents perforated augmented reality display that you can see and hear through – May 29, 2015
Apple acquires augmented reality company Metaio – May 28, 2015
New Apple haptics patent application reveals diamond-layered trackpad that simulates wood, other textures – April 23, 2015
Apple granted U.S. patent for hybrid VR head-mounted display – February 18, 2015
Apple is working on VR user interfaces and gaming; looking for Oculus and Leap experts – February 10, 2015
Apple granted patent for display-based speakers for iOS devices – January 13, 2015
Apple granted a patent for devices with a transparent display – November 18, 2014
Apple’s new iPhones, iPads could feature haptic displays – June 30, 2014
Apple patent application reveals personal display headset invention – May 8, 2014
Apple patent application reveals wildly intelligent multi-tiered haptics system – May 3, 2012
Apple continues to tweak Apple TV video headset accessory – April 10, 2014
Apple patent application reveals sapphire flexible transparent display devices created with Liquidmetal – December 19, 2013
Apple granted knockout patent for head-mounted personal display – December 10, 2013
iGlasses: Apple granted patent for head-mounted augmented reality displays – July 5, 2012
Apple files patent application for haptic feedback touch-based user interface – March 22, 2012


  1. I just can’t for the life of me imagine ANY scenario in which I would wear any type of techy glasses!!! I got my Shades and my Readers and that’s it! It’s exactly the reason I knew 3D TV was a gimmick from the get go…right along with Curved Screens…

    1. Me either. So, they made their own Surface, and now they are doing Google Glass? Why? Augmented reality didn’t fare so well the first time around, and I can’t say that I see the wisdom in calling Pokemon Go a paradigm shift. Please. I’m totally fine with technological evolution, but could something legitimately useful please make its way out of Silicon Valley (or wherever)?

  2. Having tried briefly a pair of Google Glasses a few years ago my initial thought was “too early and a steaming pile of awful tech.” (Not to mention the social pariah inducing features.) And of course users and Google finally came to that conclusion too.

    To proceed down this path again would require a huge paradigm shift of advanced design and execution. I still don’t think we’re there yet and not for years to come.

  3. Cant believe that they would not have been working on AR glasses for longer than that, indeed their patents show it. I guess its a matter of when something moves into designed for the marketplace stage which perhaps is what they are referring to. However I doubt that it is glasses in the Google glass tense, cant see that happening if at all till they are seamless parts of glasses that people actually want to wear, be it like their normal glasses or sunglasses. don’t see that any time soon.

  4. I’m with Spy: Apple is a leading tech company. If they haven’t been working on smart glasses for at least a few years then they should just call it a day and break up the business. Matter of fact, if they aren’t working on further tech like using CRISPR to edit the visual cortex genes so they can receive images then I wouldn’t be seeing things correctly.

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