Apple Glasses early patent drawing

U.S. Patent Publication 20210034145

Apple Glasses: News and Expected Price, Release Date, Specs; and More Rumors

Apple mixed reality appears to be shaping up in eyeglass/headset form

Apple Glasses (aka Apple Glass) is rumored to be the next step in augmented reality for consumers. Apple was granted a U.S. patent for a 'predictive, foveated virtual reality system' and another for a head-wearable device. Both appear to be part of a long-rumored augmented/mixed reality head-mounted display system from the tech giant.

Apple Glasses US patent illustration

U.S. Patent Publication 20210034145

When Will Apple Glasses Be Released?

There were dueling opinions on a release date, partly because there are possibly three types of glasses/goggles that Apple will eventually release. The first we'll see is apparently called the Apple Reality Pro.

Prolific Apple leaker Jon Prosser surmised (and he's frequently correct with his predictions) in May 2020, the company could introduce the AR glasses in the first quarter of 2021. He was wrong this time.

Respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo at one time said that the first quarter of 2022 is more likely (at least for the "helmet type"). However, with that time having come and gone, a more recent estimate by Kuo puts the start of production at the fourth quarter of 2022.

A rough release timeline obtained by AppleInsider appears to support Ming-Chi Kuo's predictions, plus it speculates there are two types of Apple Glass projects underway. MacRumors, too, says its sources claim Apple is working on two AR projects that include an augmented reality headset to be released in 2022, with a more refined version launching in 2023-2025 (maybe even contacts lenses a few years after that). Whether they'll all be called Apple Glasses is still up for debate.

Then again, Kuo made a statement in June 2022 that predicts the device will hit the store shelves in 2023.

The acquisition of NextVR was considered a clear step in Apple's AR/VR direction. TechRadar surmised its content broadcasting experience could prove helpful in the long run for Apple, along with its sports content-licensing deals.

Lifewire's Release Date Estimate

Look for Apple Glasses in 2023. We're with Ming-Chi Kuo on this one and betting on the 2023 sale of the first version, with the more sophisticated version following. Look for a teaser to come as a 'One More Thing' statement at a standard Apple product launch event, with the usual Apple MO of 'announce first, release months later.'

How Much Will Apple Glasses Cost?

According to Prosser, the starting price will be around $500 plus the cost of an eyeglass prescription (if needed).

Where to Pre-Order

Since there's been no official announcement, there's nothing to pre-order. Yet.

Kuo believes pre-orders will commence in the second quarter of 2023.

Apple Glasses Features and Specs

We're going off rumors here, but these are only the ones that make sense. Here's what we're expecting:

  • As close in style to typical glasses as possible
  • A half-inch display with 1280x960 resolution using Sony OLED Micro-displays
  • The iPhone will process all data
  • Plastic or metal frames
  • Both lenses will display information
  • A UI called 'Starboard'
  • Controlled by gestures
  • A Lidar sensor on the right temple
  • Over 12 cameras, both low and high resolution
  • Wireless charging features
  • Ability to scan Apple QR codes
  • Wi-Fi 6E support

Prosser claims current LiDAR data from the 2020 iPad Pro is going straight to the Apple Glasses team. The iPhone 12 Pro Max also has LiDAR, so if you have one of those systems, and he's right, you just might be assisting in the development of these new AR glasses.

Here's a neat concept video with some feature ideas that could make their way into these glasses via realityOS:

How Does Apple Glasses Work?

New patent granted to Apple in January 2022 showing stacked lenses.

No one knows for sure, but the general idea behind the key patent is an eyewear system that uses sensors to detect and track motion. The word 'foveated' stems from the idea of 'foveated rendering,' which essentially changes what the eye sees when something is viewed through a foveated lens.

The key patent abstract says 'a Predictive, Foveated Virtual Reality System may capture views of the world around a user using multiple resolutions. The Predictive, Foveated Virtual Reality System may include one or more cameras. They would be configured to capture lower-resolution image data for a peripheral field of view while capturing higher resolution image data for a narrow field of view corresponding to a user's line of sight. Additionally, the Predictive, Foveated Virtual Reality System may also include one or more sensors or other mechanisms, such as gaze tracking modules or accelerometers, to detect or track motions.'

Building off this abstract, one could look at similar ideas from other companies to start getting the idea of what the eye would see. Nvidia researched this and has some compelling images that give a general idea of how Apple Glass could work. This Foveated 3D Graphics paper from Microsoft Research is also helpful in understanding where Apple is headed with Apple Glass.

In January 2022, Apple was granted a patent titled 'Tunable and foveated lens systems'. The idea is to stack liquid-filled lenses for each eye, with each lens potentially containing voltage-modulate optical materials surrounded by electrodes and embedded between transparent substrates.

The idea with these stacked lenses seems to be that the lenses could instantly and automatically adjust to correct a wearer's vision.

Apple Glass as imagined by some in the tech industry.
Apple Glass as imagined by some in the tech industry.

Apple Insider

The Latest News About Apple Glasses

You can get more Smart & Connected Life news from Lifewire on all kinds of topics; here are more stories (and some of those rumors) about Apple Glasses in the meantime.