Apple is (probably) working on Augmented Reality glasses. Whether or not we actually see them in the real world remains to be seen.

Analyst expectations put the launch year as early as 2020, which means we may start to hear more about the accessory soon. Until then, though, it might be a collection of Apple patent applications that hint at what the company might be working on. For instance, the latest patent app hints at a pretty useful use case for AR glasses.

In this case, a “head-mounted display” could give wearers a “method for representing points of interest in a view of a real environment on a mobile device”. The patent application was just published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office this week. In it, Apple details how the AR glasses could help future wearers not only find items in their own home, or in the car, but also pinpoint points of interest worth looking at.

As is par for the course with AR glasses, you’d see the real world through the glass, but that would be overlaid with digital information displayed on the glass. An example provided in the patent application shows off a range of buildings, each of which has a digital label applied to it for easy identification. If you have a connected iPhone, users would then be able to tap on that information and learn more about the building they are looking at.

What, exactly, Apple is working on remains to be seen. There does not seem to be a consensus in this regard, even out of the rumor mill. Apple could either be working on a Google Glasses-like device, something that is small and ready for everyday use. Or, the company could also be working on a larger HoloLens-like device, something that would fit better in the home (or factories).

The obligatory disclaimer: Apple’s patent applications cover a wide gamut of different technologies and interests. It does not necessarily detail something the company is actually planning on launching anytime soon. Or ever. This patent application could just be something Apple was working on, but may never see the light of day.

Microsoft’s HoloLens, and Google’s Google Glass, have both found a home in factories. That may suggest Apple will lean into the consumer market. Other patent applications have detailed how Apple Maps could see a boost with AR glasses. And ARKit already makes Flyover in Maps exciting.

Whatever the device ends up being, there is little doubt that this is something Apple is legitimately exploring. Tim Cook, the company’s CEO, has talked repeatedly about AR. He has called it the “profound technology” of the future. And while ARKit is already present in iOS, the company’s ambitions for the technology seem even higher.

Are you hoping to see something exciting in the AR glasses department from Apple in the future?

[via AppleInsider]

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