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Apple quietly laid the groundwork for a pair of smart glasses at its biggest conference of the year (AAPL)

Apple quietly laid the groundwork for a pair of smart glasses at its biggest conference of the year (AAPL)

Tim Cook

Apple CEO Tim Cook.


ARKit is the foundation for AR on iOS. Announced at WWDC 2017, ARKit lets developers build apps with motion tracking while allowing them to estimate space and ambient lighting. At the time, it basically made “Pokémon Go” look better.


ARKit 3, announced at WWDC 2019, is focused on how people actually interact with AR.


The new framework has motion-capture technology, so developers can integrate people’s movements into their apps.


It also has “people occlusion,” so people can walk around virtual content in a realistic fashion.


ARKit 3 is Apple’s foundation for convincing AR experiences. If smart glasses are going to succeed, people really need to be blown away by what they’re seeing inside the glasses. Moving in front of or behind a 3D object might not sound complicated, but it’s a big step toward making AR feel truly immersive.


Of course, if Apple actually launched smart glasses, it would create its own applications for the device. Apple has spent much of 2019 reinvesting in its own apps and services, so it would be no surprise to see many of the new apps showcased at WWDC become available in smart glasses.


Apple Maps, in particular, feels like it was built for a pair of smart glasses.


The new Apple Maps will also have “better pedestrian data” and “more precise addresses.” Paired with the new 3D Street View feature, we could see navigation being fun and intuitive with a pair of smart glasses. (Imagine “Crazy Taxi,” where you can see virtual arrows pointing where you need to go.)

Gabor Balogh

We’re not sure which other iOS apps Apple would port to a pair of smart glasses, but in a 2017 report, Bloomberg said Apple engineers were “prototyping a range of applications, from mapping and texting to more advanced features including virtual meeting rooms and 360-degree video playback.”


Apple’s glasses will run on what the company is internally calling “rOS,” or “reality operating system,” according to Bloomberg.


In March, reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said Apple’s smart glasses would be mass produced “in the middle of next year,” and marketed as an iPhone accessory, as the glasses would leverage the iPhone’s computing and networking to retain a lightweight form.


Apple’s smart glasses are expected sometime in 2020.

You can read more about them here.


Apple glasses
smart glasses

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