Apple has been working on augmented reality headset for many years. The company clearly did not confirm the project, but between hiring AR hardware personnel, filing numerous AR patents, purchasing AR startups, appointing AR Marketing Director and future steps outside of their ARKit software, iGlasses are in fact an “open secret” just waiting to be disclosed.
Of course, no one knows exactly how and when this will happen. Apple’s black box approach means that software’s features are still a mystery, so his glasses (or Apple’s glasses, or whatever they are ultimately called) may be almost ready for production or come out in a year. Some of the earliest and best reports set a release schedule that falls at the end of 2019 / beginning of 2020.
This suggests that we are approaching the official disclosure date. It may even happen at WWDC next week, and there is a rumor that Apple is considering this possibility. However, it will somewhat break the tradition, and it is better not to hope for a global release right away. Putting aside a specific time aside for a moment, this is how the product is most likely to be presented.
Wait for the preview well before its public release.
If you recall every major introduction of Apple’s “new category” over the past ten years — the iPhone, Apple TV, iPad, Apple Watch, and HomePod — their common thread is a significant gap between the original ad and actual store availability. Specifically:
- The iPhone was announced on January 9, 2007 and released on June 29, 2007.
- Apple TV was presented (as iTV) on September 12, 2006 and released on March 21, 2007.
- The iPad was announced on January 27, 2010 and released on April 3, 2010.
- Apple Watch was introduced on September 9, 2014 and released on April 24, 2015.
- HomePod was introduced on June 5, 2017 (WWDC) for the promised launch in December 2017, but was eventually released on February 9, 2018.
Apple needs these gaps for several reasons: to make the FCC and the relevant regulatory approvals refine the production and marketing plans and solve recent problems with anything from lagging components to software and distribution channels. Even former Apple CEO Steve Jobs – perhaps the strongest supporter of ads ending with the words “in stores now” – gave way to these realities to launch Apple’s first-of-its-kind product, in particular, recognizing the “hidden view” as a way to avoid leaks will only occur with regulatory approval.
For this reason, you can be sure that there will be an official quick glance at the new AR product several months before it hits stores. This gap will also give everyone enough time to come to terms with the inevitable limitations of the first model, such as battery life and price.
Will there be a preview at WWDC?
One critical question can determine when Apple will show its AR hardware: will it be a completely new, autonomous computing platform or just an accessory for the iPhone?
If the device is a standalone computing platform, like HoloLens from Microsoft or Magic Leap One, Apple will need to share a ton of new information with the developers, who will receive the first prototypes as quickly as possible. Theoretically, there is no better place for this than the WWDC. If this is just an iPhone accessory, disclosure can be arranged at any time – WWDC, the inevitable iPhone event in September or later, depending on how close the equipment is to completion.
Please note the above dates. It should be borne in mind that Apple usually does not introduce major new products at WWDC – HomePod was an exception. This is partly due to historical reasons: when Jobs was the boss, Apple usually offered regular January notes and unpredictably caused the media to one-time events at will. But in the era of Tim Cook, product announcements were more predictable cadence, with an emphasis on the March, June and September events, with rare exceptions.
In a year when there is a lot of important OS-level news for iOS, macOS, tvOS and watchOS, such as iOS / macOS cross-platform development or a new watch application store, Apple may not want to divert the attention of its developers from these initiatives. Revealing a new AR headset would be a huge distraction.
On the other hand, there is no doubt that augmented reality will be part of the WWDC presentation on the software side — this was pretty much the only new item for the seventh generation iPod Touch that was just announced. This would also be a natural and exciting segment for participants, as well as millions of people who watch Apple events.
Based on the latest reports, the most likely scenario is that the headset will become an accessory for the iPhone, akin to the Apple Watch. This means that developers (and Apple) will not have to go into a completely new AR platform. There will still be a lot of questions about how the headset works and how developers can add support to existing iPhone applications, but third-party support will not be so critical on the first day. This makes a September opening, like the Apple Watch, at least as likely as a possible presentation at WWDC, if not significantly more.
What will be the preview?
If the past is any guide, Apple will want to give iGlasses considerable attention. Probably more than 15 minutes HomePod received at the end of 2017 at WWDC. The Apple Watch preview in September 2014 took 45 minutes, and there is every reason to believe that Apple will want to allocate about the same amount of time to explain and demonstrate the new AR equipment, which may be harder to sell than a smart watch.
When Apple wanted to create a HYIP around the smartwatch, it strategically structured the event, acting as follows:
- Start with a memorable design, show the video to intrigue everyone
- In the sequel, Cook brought the clock to the stage, where he suggested looking more closely at the functionality of the device and the “breakthrough” of the user interface
- The presentation flowed to Joni Yves, telling about design and features,
- On the demo version told Kevin Lynch,
- Another video talked about healthy lifestyles,
- Everything ended with a discussion of the size of the market and the total date of sale (“the beginning of 2015”).
You can expect a very similar strategy for the Apple AR-headset. The company wants to show its design decisions — in particular, to miniaturize functionality into something that looks much more like ordinary glasses than, say, Google Glassor HoloLens — and also explain the important reason for the existence of the project and show some interesting things the device . A demonstration of its functionality will be performed on the stage, accompanied by videos about how it will be useful in a number of daily and specialized situations that can change the world.
And although there will be a general release schedule, it most likely will not be as narrow as a specific date, and there may be no price discussion. It is worth noting that specific Apple dates tend to shift. Therefore, the company is trying to keep the dates ambiguous, until the product is very close to release.
As VRcue believes, iGlasses will be released later this year, not next week, but anything is possible.