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Apple Considering Expansion Into Wearable Glasses, Says Report (bloomberg.com) 121

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: Apple is weighing an expansion into digital glasses, a risky but potentially lucrative area of wearable computing, according to people familiar with the matter. While still in an exploration phase, the device would connect wirelessly to iPhones, show images and other information in the wearer's field of vision, and may use augmented reality, the people said. They asked not to be identified speaking about a secret project. Apple has talked about its glasses project with potential suppliers, according to people familiar with those discussions. The company has ordered small quantities of near-eye displays from one supplier for testing, the people said. Apple hasn't ordered enough components so far to indicate imminent mass-production, one of the people added. Should Apple ultimately decide to proceed with the device, it would be introduced in 2018 at the earliest, another person said. The glasses may be Apple's first hardware product targeted directly at AR, one of the people said. Apple has AR patents for things like street view in mapping apps. It was also awarded patents for smart glasses that make use of full-fledged virtual reality. Apple is unlikely to leverage VR in a mass-consumer product, Cook suggested in October. Apple's challenge is fitting all the technology needed into a useful pair of internet-connected glasses that are small and sleek enough for regular people to wear.
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Apple Considering Expansion Into Wearable Glasses, Says Report

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  • by ArtemaOne ( 1300025 ) on Monday November 14, 2016 @10:17PM (#53286439)
    Those Google Glass were so lame. Now it'll be trendy.
    • Google Glass failed because they were lame. Not in an appearance sense, though they were that too, but in a completely rubbish pointless piece of equipment way.

      The design was just so bad, the interface so poor, the usage cases so non-existent.

      But if you gave me a pair of sunnys with a transparent overlay, where I was seeing through the display rather than up and off to the side to an opaque little box then there might be a usage case.

      • While I agree on the utility, for those of us that wear prescription glasses they would be useless unless you could get prescription versions. Since that would change the optics I doubt that will be an option.
        • by lucm ( 889690 )

          While I agree on the utility, for those of us that wear prescription glasses they would be useless unless you could get prescription versions. Since that would change the optics I doubt that will be an option.

          You don't need prescription glasses when you wear Apple glasses. Just like people don't need the ability to hear what the other party is saying when they make a call with an iPhone, or just like people don't need to use wifi and usb at the same time on a Macbook. That's the beauty of Apple; as long as there's an Apple logo on it, there is no longer a need for something to serve a purpose or to provide value.

          Of course this kind of business strategy led to Apple losing their dominant position in the market, b

        • Is there a way you can use the microsoft hololens? Alternatively perhaps you wear contacts?

          • Is there a way you can use the microsoft hololens? Alternatively perhaps you wear contacts?

            Contacts aren't really an option, don't know about the hololens. Given the number of people who use glasses, the inability to use such tech as seamlessly as you do a pair of glasses would limit the market. Taking off your glasses, putting on a different pair to use the AR/VR whatever capabilities, then lather rinse and repeat is not a good user experience.

            • Agreed it would limit the market massively if you can't use it if you need to wear corrective glasses.

              That said I don't know enough about optics to know if there is a way to correct for it with a transparent display.

      • Google Glass failed because they were lame.

        They also failed because, at $1500, they were way overpriced. The UI sucked. The battery life sucked. The capabilities also sucked. People often thought that Google Glasses were recording everything they did, when they actually did not have the ability to do that.

        • They also failed because...they were way overpriced. .... The battery life sucked. The capabilities also sucked.

          Why would these cause it to fail? It already sounds like it's a perfect companion for the new MacBook.

          • They also failed because...they were way overpriced. .... The battery life sucked. The capabilities also sucked.

            Why would these cause it to fail? It already sounds like it's a perfect companion for the new MacBook.

            And made by Google, irony abounds.

    • If Apple succeed in making it look normal, maybe yes. If it makes you look like a cydork, no.
    • No, it will still be lame, except for hypocrites. The difference will be that this device will only represent a minor invasion of privacy to everyone around the wearer, rather than a Big Brother invasion of privacy to everyone around the wearer.

  • better than implanted, i guess.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Wait till I tell my optometrist!

    • such new technology concepts.... that will make the boy i have hold my glasses in front of my eyes entirely redundant.....
      why the savings on that alone would be worth the price...even at apple prices

  • by SeaFox ( 739806 ) on Monday November 14, 2016 @10:18PM (#53286457)

    Apple is already too far spread out into things and neglecting their core products.
    Let Snapchat waste their money on this instead.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      this *is* their core market. copy someone else, paint it white, slap a logo on it next to a ridiculously high price, then sit back and count the benjamins.

    • by lucm ( 889690 )

      Apple is already too far spread out into things and neglecting their core products.

      They do neglect their core products but it's not because they're too spread out. They spend less money on R&D than companies that have a far smaller revenue, they don't release new products and they still haven't figured out how the cloud works.

      Apple priorities are building a 5-billion dollar headquarter and finding ways to avoid paying taxes. Innovation, QA, ethics and common sense are way down on their list.

    • by Maritz ( 1829006 )
      Not only should Apple invent glasses, they should patent them.
    • Aren't portable/wearable devices their core products now? I'm looking at their last quarter's financial report; they sold 4.9 million Macs, 9.3 million iPads (but made more off the Macs), and over 45 million iPhones. So it looks like they're a phone maker that also sells a few computers on the side.
  • ...the urge... ...There's just too many gags that immediately spring to mind... "Apple Glass" wearers walking into walls because Apple's maps are so unreliable? "Apple Glass" wearers being even more shunned when they video record onto the web everyone they look at wherever they go? Will they be made to look like Steve Jobs' hipster-retro glasses?

  • Nothing new. I've been wearing glasses for years.
  • I agree that 'smart glasses' fall into the "not at all clear we can actually find a market for these" category; but 'risky' seems like an odd term.

    TI would be more than happy [ti.com] to refer you to somebody who sells suitable displays in small quantities; and Apple engineers presumably have access to quantities of iphone/Apple watch dev boards, so getting a prototype up and running would probably be cheaper than some excessively long meetings.

    Doesn't mean they'll necessarily have any better luck getting a us
  • Wearable glasses? Great! I already have the Apple drinking glasses, I need the wearable glasses too. I already have the Apple Watch. And t-shirt. And the Apple ball cap. The iPad, iPod, iPhone. Then there's the socks, beach towel, pillow cases, and waffle iron.

    • iWaffles are so sleek and user friendly that I'll never go back to regular waffles.

      Do you know where I get them? Should be pretty obvious...

      iHop.

      • Well done. [slow clap] Well done.

        I was actually going for a reference to the overheated batteries in Apple's laptops from way back, as well as the "merchandizing" skit from the movie Spaceballs. I then realized the waffle iron reference was probably too obscure and the Spaceballs reference just made me feel old.

        • Oh you jerk! Now I feel old! I grew up on Spaceballs. "Moichedizing, moichendizing! Where the real money from the movie is made!"
  • by Applehu Akbar ( 2968043 ) on Monday November 14, 2016 @11:10PM (#53286713)

    I have a distant relative who is undergoing major medical problems, and if he or one of his med techs texts me while I'm out hiking with my club, there's no time to whip off my sunglasses, forage in my pack for reading glasses, and put those on to see the message. But suppose my sunnies had a VR overlay that brought out one selected iPhone function, as the Apple Watch does. By having it display texts, I could stay informed without breaking stride. So long as Apple avoided the optics, so to speak, of Google Glass, for many people, this could be a more practical wearable than the Watch.

    • My solution was to get prescription sunglasses. However the sunglasses are polarized so I have to hold my electronics just so or the screen goes dark from the cross polarization.

      • I don't need a distance correction, but I have tried those bifocal sunglasses with a diopter reading correction at the bottom. But on the trail that leaves me with a big fuzzy blob around my feet, right where I need to be able to see where I'm walking.

    • by stealth_finger ( 1809752 ) on Tuesday November 15, 2016 @08:04AM (#53288189)

      I have a distant relative who is undergoing major medical problems, and if he or one of his med techs texts me while I'm out hiking with my club, there's no time to whip off my sunglasses, forage in my pack for reading glasses, and put those on to see the message. But suppose my sunnies had a VR overlay that brought out one selected iPhone function, as the Apple Watch does. By having it display texts, I could stay informed without breaking stride. So long as Apple avoided the optics, so to speak, of Google Glass, for many people, this could be a more practical wearable than the Watch.

      Why is there no time to change glasses to read this text? Could your phone read it out loud(through headphones maybe)? Could someone else read it? Why is all this an issue when you're more concerned with not breaking stride with your hiking club that the distant relative having major medical problems? If the situation is so urgent you can't afford the delay of non instant communication direct to your eyeball, you really shouldn't be out hiking in the first place. What if you have no signal and all that is moot?

    • Edit: AR overlay.

  • Between the iPhone 7 and the latest Laptops it's clear that Apple doesn't have the 'vision' behind it that it did.

    I'm sure Ives and Cook will give free reign to some other rising star that will make what they like. But without Jobs doing what Jobs did it'll probably end off in the weeds.

    What made the iPod successful was how Jobs said it should work.

    • What made the iPod successful was how Jobs copied how the Creative Nomad worked.

      FTFY. Source [cnet.com].

      • What made the iPod successful was how Jobs copied how the Creative Nomad worked.

        FTFY. Source [cnet.com].

        Errm, no. Apple violated their patent on "automatic hierarchical categorization of music by metadata." - but the UIs as implemented on top of that were actually quite different. Not the least because Creative used a much smaller screen and - instead of the iPods click-wheel with 5 buttons - 11 buttons, 3 of which were "soft buttons" that contextually change what they did (which took 1 line of the display away to show what they did).

        BTW the fact that Apple lost that patent suit against Creative was the reas

    • Between the iPhone 7 and the latest Laptops it's clear that Apple doesn't have the 'vision' behind it that it did.

      That's why they need glasses! ;-)

  • Is it too obvious to call them iGlasses? Or maybe they'll go trendy with something like iWear.
  • by wkwilley2 ( 4278669 ) on Tuesday November 15, 2016 @12:08AM (#53286959)

    If a company would just make a wearable that looked like the scouters from DBZ, I would throw all my credit cards at the screen!

  • >Apple has AR patents for things like street view in mapping apps. It was also awarded patents for smart glasses that make use of full-fledged virtual reality.

    IP is literally adults calling dibs.

  • I guess, Apple will wait for what Magic Leap comes up with, and then decide.
  • Except in that version, it was in the eye socket.
  • Apple makes everything white. Apple people wear those big cheap-looking black plastic frames.

    Apple glasses will fail because they're the wrong color.

    • Apple makes everything white.

      Currently that's the ceramic Watch Edition, one watch band, the non-screen part of the front of each non-black iPhone and iPad, one of each case or cover they make, the ear pods and most cables, adapters, chargers and power supplies. Yeah, and the cardboard cases, the paper they use, and most backgrounds on their web page and programs.

      So apart from almost all their actual products, pretty much everything they make is white. More or less. Even more if you count aluminum or "silver" as white.

      • Just because I forgot my iPhone is black is no reason to point out I'm wrong!

        Okay, fine, just because it is, shh!

  • "Apple Considering Expansion Into Wearable Glasses"

    I've never considered buying a pair of non-wearable glasses. I can see it now, 20 years in the future, Bob Jobs, Steve Job's great-great-great-great grandchild (generations will come quicker in the future), announcing to a sea of adoring fans how, back in 2017, Apple invented glasses that people could wear.

    "Before the iGlasses, people used to leave their glasses on the table because they weren't wearable, it wasn't until Apple invented wearable glasses tha

  • by chrysrobyn ( 106763 ) on Tuesday November 15, 2016 @10:33AM (#53288913)

    If this product can fix some problems with Google Glass, I'll buy one at twice a reasonable price.

    Google Glass never looked comfortable or stylish. The camera made everyone uncomfortable. The battery wasn't great, and the resolution was terrible.

    If Apple can come in and make it look reasonable, omit the camera, take advantage of some recent semiconductor technologies like fin fets or fdsoi, and make a 800x600 or 1024x768 screen, they have a blockbuster on their hands. I want to be able to access my digital world (Facebook, games, email, texts), and I want it to evolve into something better than what I've got. Already I barely use my home computer daily, no longer multiple times a day. My cell phone is my current tether to the internet. I'm not particularly enamored with it, but if it becomes a secondary device for my glasses -- cellular modem, hi def screen for necessary tasks, GPS, CPU and whatever chips eat the most power -- that's a great benefit.

    For me, visual displays are "complete" when they can use a laser (or whatever) to project onto my retina a fully focused image that's of a "normal" brightness, taking the same arc size of a 24" screen a foot away, with a resolution better than I can detect. Glasses are the next logical step to this panacea.

  • Would that make the wearers of these devices *snaps on regular sunglasses*...
      Appholes?

    Don't worry, I'll see myself out the door.

  • Wouldn't be interested in anything like this to be honest..

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