DigiTimes: Apple ‘reportedly’ ends AR glasses development

Joe Rossignol for MacRumors:

Apple has reportedly “terminated” development of its widely rumored augmented reality glasses project, according to DigiTimes.

Multiple sources have claimed that Apple planned to release augmented reality glasses as early as 2020, including well-known analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman, and CNET, so if the DigiTimes report is accurate, this would reflect a cancellation of a major hardware project on Apple’s roadmap.

Full story is currently paywalled.

Also consider:

MacDailyNews Take: Sorry, we don’t buy it. It simply feels wrong. Unless it simply means development has moved to the next stage…


    1. Imagine a heads up display (in your AR glasses) linked with Minority Report type Hand gesture manipulation and audio converted to text or commands and a on/off visuals button on the frame for a calendar, or a post it notes app or? Or? Or? By the way, Apple just registered Minority Report. Hmmmm?

    1. Was it ever envisioned that people would drive with an unsafe portion of their attention on their ongoing text conversations? The sense of the urgent will determine usefulness, imo.

    2. Agreed. At least I certainly wouldn’t want to. I understand it might be useful for some inventory businesses, or other specialized jobs, but not for the average consumer. To me, the only thing that’s more useless than AR glasses are VR goggles. Maybe I’m just too old to appreciate these new technologies, but I’m just not interested in them. I’m not trying to predict the future. I’m just saying those things aren’t for me. I’m perfectly satisfied using a smartphone, laptop or desktop display and don’t need the additional cost or complexity of extra hardware.

      1. Agreed. AR goggles/glasses are best suited for those environments where you need use of both hands and HUDs augment your productivity or informational needs of the moment. Outside of the usual targets of product picker, mechanic, and possibly surgeon, such devices may be useful for race drivers, pilots and first responders.

        I wouldn’t put it past Disney/Universal however to implement them in making their park experiences even more immersive.

    3. Half the people walking around are wearing glasses already. Obviously the interaction wouldn’t be “staring” at bits of media for extended periods of time. In fact it shouldn’t even be visible from the outside perspective.

      PS. If this project is shelved, much of the ARkit efforts are kinda pointless. Handsfree has always been the goal.

  1. Digitimes is sketchy reporting at best. Most likely right in an attempt to manipulate the stock. Happened EVERY earnings season, you see the negative stories on AAPL everywhere.

    1. Digitimes has one of the worst (if not THE worst) track record in claiming to know what Apple is doing or will be doing. I pretty much ignore anything that comes from them.

  2. I’d buy this from 2000s Apple. AR is a pretty weak gimmick, and Apple wasn’t afraid to walk away from sunk costs.

    More recently, that hasn’t been the case, with the notable exception of Air Power.

    1. AR can be great, if done right. The problem for me is that none of them so far are anything but major kludges. People have been investigating AR for almost 40 years. Hell, HP even put out articles in the very late 70s and early 80s that their high end calculators could possibly include AR in their screens. To date no one has been able to come close to getting it right.

      At this point (and with past predictions that Apple is pursuing AR glasses) I put the predictions that Apple is doing AR glasses in the same category as Apple doing a stand alone television. For several years many analysts were claiming, “Apple will ship a stand alone Apple branded television next year.” That never materialized and likely never will. I think the same of “Apple AR Glasses”.

      1. I think that Apple AR Glasses have a strong chance if targeted at specialists such as doctors, truck drivers, bird watchers, bicyclists, and music listeners who want to read the words.

        1. Apple will be diving into a much smaller market than they are used to at that point and competing with the likes of Google which never stopped their Glass development.

          Perhaps a display over a single eye (like those power meters in Dragonball) might be something Apple could pioneer for AR. If need be it could be like Airpods where you could have a setup that uses both right and left units or only one side if desired.

  3. Good, it was a dumb idea. AR has its uses, but it makes a lot of easy things more complex, I doubt it will ever be of any great practical utility for a great many activities. Mobile technology simplified, it didn’t add complexity or tedium. The glasses were DOA, anyway.

  4. I’ve recently seen other articles saying Apple hasn’t canceled its AR glasses project, so I would take this article with a grain of salt. I think some authors will say just about anything to get some quick clicks.

  5. It is possible they cancelled a particular design, or a particular manufacturer could not meet spec. That does not mean AR glasses are not under developmental.

  6. If Apple wants to offer some cool type of gaming headgear as an accessory to the Mac that just works, great, I’m all for it. If Apple was just chasing Instagramming Glassholes in an attempt to serve the social media narcissism wave, then I am ecstatic it is cancelled.

    What was one of the first things Jobs did when he returned to Apple? We all know. He slashed expensive dead-end projects. He simplified product lineups and got serious about offering users better value with clear product lineups that made sense.

    That decisive leadership doesn’t exist in the Infinite Loop anymore. Apple has so much money and so little coordination, Apple’s product development groups spread out all over the planet are basically rudderless. The left doesn’t know what the right hand is doing. There are literally hundreds of wasteful pet projects big and small that will never see the marketplace. For the last 5 years, its executive designer was AWOL to put it charitably. Bad ideas like butterfly keyboards were rammed through by politically powerful managers towing the Fashion Before Function banner instead of using fundamental engineering and shitloads of testing to ensure that Apple’s once-leading quality standards could be upheld. Important core software packages like iTunes were forgotten while the execs wined and dined with Dre and the boyz.

    Most of the time, in most organizations, a real leader would allow a certain amount of latitude to development teams with clear goals and timeline and resource limits. Stage gate processes would be followed without bias. Everyone would know that if they don’t get a working prototype and a reasonable business case together, that their project would be axed. That’s not what happens anymore because under Timmy, there are no resource limits and there are no timelines, and outside of the iPhone and a few other hot moneymakers, nobody knows what the process to the marketplace is. Isolated projects just keep going forever. Their budgets keep getting renewed because some other company (Google Glass, emojis, Instagram features, Tesla autopilot) did it and therefore Apple middle managers are compelled to go off chasing squirrels.

    What is really a shame are the obvious base hits that employees come up with that Timid Tim refuses to put into the marketplace. The beancounters who now run Apple refuse to consider great stuff if it doesn’t propagate subscription income.

    That isn’t to say all is broken. Many other large companies operate like this for decades, and they keep making money regardless of the shit show that really happens inside powerful corporate facade. With at least a couple prime examples of dead wood removed this year, I have a tiny glimmer of hope that somebody at Apple is waking up. Perhaps someone is looking outside the big donut to see that the completion has objectively caught up and surpassed Apple in many areas. Maybe someone has discovered that without constant improvements, then formerly class leading product lines will become poster children for rotten grapes on the vine. Maybe instead of attempting to foist pipe dreams on people, Apple will actually listen to what users really want and then surprise them with a product that does even better. Perhaps the Mac product group will be reinvigorated and its product lines completely refreshed with better pricing and a huge turn away from Ive-forced anorexia. It is frustrating that it took so long. Some say that as much as 90% of what you see in the 2019 (2020?) Mac Pro was sitting around waiting for implementation for a long time before it finally got the green light. But when it was finally a go, the directive was to ensure that the flagship workstation was turned into an art piece literally resembling a cheese grater rather than keeping the entry level bare-bones box under $5k. Remember, you can buy a used car for $5k.

    Apple’s last decade of product mismanagement and lack of decisive product development is an insult to users, frankly. Let’s hope that someone with vision takes the reins from Timmy soon.

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