Rumor: Apple working with Carl Zeiss on AR glasses to debut in 2018

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 9
Rumors of Apple's intent to enter the augmented reality hardware space gained traction on Monday, as a report from AR/VR evangelist Robert Scoble claims the company is partnering with optics manufacturer Carl Zeiss on a pair of lightweight glasses.


Zeiss VR One Plus smartphone VR headset.


Citing an unnamed employee at Zeiss, Scoble reports Apple is working on a pair of augmented reality/mixed reality glasses that could debut next year.

Further, Scoble says the partnership explains why the Zeiss booth at CES 2017, located in the middle of the AR section, had no AR, VR or mixed reality optics to demonstrate. The theory is that Apple muzzled the company until the supposed tie-up is announced -- or falls through.

Zeiss currently markets the VR One Plus, a headset with special optics that turns almost any smartphone into a virtual or augmented reality system. Similar products, commonly called viewers, are available from Samsung and Google.

Though today's report offers little beyond a tasty tidbit from an anonymous inside source and rampant -- if not soapy -- speculation, it provides circumstantial evidence that Apple is at least mulling an entry into the AR/VR consumer hardware space.

Apple has in the past shown interested in AR, with CEO Tim Cook trumpeting the technology on more than one occasion, but how or when the company plans to enter the sector is unclear.

"We are high on AR for the long run, we think there's great things for customers and a great commercial opportunity. So we're investing," Cook said during an earnings conference call last year.

In November, noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted Apple to take baby steps toward a holistic AR solution over the coming months, saying a standalone system is unlikely to debut for at least one to two years.

Exactly what ilk of AR headset Apple will field is unknown. AR tech, best described as a layer of digital information overlaid onto the physical world, could greatly impact the way in which users interact with existing platforms like iOS and Apple TV. Kuo mused that AR might find its way into Apple's car initiative. In fact, Apple was recently said to be testing heads-up display with Siri integration as it pivots away from self-driving hardware to supporting software systems.

Beyond Cook's affirmations that AR is an interest to Apple, there is ample evidence that the company is quickly growing out an internal AR team through strategic hires and segment purchases including motion capture specialist Faceshift, machine learning and computer vision startup Perceptio, German AR firm Metaio and Flyby Media, among others. Those acquisitions, some of which are considered "acqui-hires," go along with in-house development of transparent displays, iPhone-powered VR rigs, AR maps and other related technologies.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 53
    crowleycrowley Posts: 4,922member
    So they might be heading in a more Google Glass direction than others.  That'd be interesting.
    repressthis
  • Reply 2 of 53
    calicali Posts: 2,683member
    If Apple enters the market I expect one MAJOR change:

    iPhone-less glasses.

    hooking up an android to bulky glasses is the past. I expect Apple's glasses to be more expensive and non goofy.
    jahbladewatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 53
    boltsfan17boltsfan17 Posts: 1,175member
    cali said:
    If Apple enters the market I expect one MAJOR change:

    iPhone-less glasses.

    hooking up an android to bulky glasses is the past. I expect Apple's glasses to be more expensive and non goofy.
    Not sure if that would work. You would still need the phone hooked up to the glasses somehow. Only option would be a cable. That's more cumbersome than hooking up phone directly into the glasses. 
  • Reply 4 of 53
    ...this may be the best 'news' (for me) from this site yet... I can only imagine what 'retina' VR might be like, with Zeiss optics, a transparent interface and for designers a suite of software that follows suit...
    edited January 9
  • Reply 5 of 53
    cali said:
    If Apple enters the market I expect one MAJOR change:

    iPhone-less glasses.

    hooking up an android to bulky glasses is the past. I expect Apple's glasses to be more expensive and non goofy.
    Not sure if that would work. You would still need the phone hooked up to the glasses somehow. Only option would be a cable. That's more cumbersome than hooking up phone directly into the glasses. 
    We can ignore some of the limitations of current technology. Let's dream a little and assume the stuff in the works will be better.  Why would the only option be a cable?  Why wouldn't the glasses connect with a video version of the W1 chip?  The AirPods demonstrate an ability to stuff battery and whatnot into a very small package.  Many fashionable eyeglasses have very thick temples.  I think you could make a fashionable frame with plenty of stuff hidden. The trick will be to hide a camera in the bridge and it will have to be hidden very effectively to avoid the glass hole effect and so the wearer doesn't look like a freaky minotaur. 
    repressthisjahbladecaliwatto_cobrastantheman
  • Reply 6 of 53
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 15,532member
    williamh said:
    cali said:
    If Apple enters the market I expect one MAJOR change:

    iPhone-less glasses.

    hooking up an android to bulky glasses is the past. I expect Apple's glasses to be more expensive and non goofy.
    Not sure if that would work. You would still need the phone hooked up to the glasses somehow. Only option would be a cable. That's more cumbersome than hooking up phone directly into the glasses. 
    We can ignore some of the limitations of current technology. Let's dream a little and assume the stuff in the works will be better.  Why would the only option be a cable?  Why wouldn't the glasses connect with a video version of the W1 chip?  The AirPods demonstrate an ability to stuff battery and whatnot into a very small package.  Many fashionable eyeglasses have very thick temples.  I think you could make a fashionable frame with plenty of stuff hidden. The trick will be to hide a camera in the bridge and it will have to be hidden very effectively to avoid the glass hole effect and so the wearer doesn't look like a freaky minotaur. 
    So if others couldn't SEE the camera on the man in the bar restroom then they'd be OK with Apple glasses in there? As I remember it the camera simply being there in the first place was the issue being promoted to fear Google Glass even tho it gave clear indication when it was in use. Why would folks accept an iWear camera, especially a hidden one?

    If Apple is developing a similar product to be used on the street and in public I think that's the PR problem that needs to be solved. 
    edited January 9 repressthiscali
  • Reply 7 of 53
    Another key acquisition for AR was PrimeSense, original makes of the Kinect - this technology can be used for 3D object mapping and object recognition. This is how Microsoft Hololens works. And the phone can live in your pocket and transmit video to the glasses via, essentially, AirPlay. As @Williamh says, a video version of the W1 chip. I predicted something like this here: https://medium.com/@philvanallen/3-clues-for-an-apple-ar-ecosystem-67acef86af94#.2u04hw17h
    repressthiswatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 53
    crowley said:
    So they might be heading in a more Google Glass direction than others.  That'd be interesting.

    Yup. But instead of releasing a half-baked product early to developers with inferior hardware and hoping they figure out uses for it, Apple will keep it under wraps and only release a finished version. 
    repressthisslprescottcalicornchipwatto_cobraStrangeDaysmonstrosity
  • Reply 9 of 53
    gatorguy said:
    williamh said:
    cali said:
    If Apple enters the market I expect one MAJOR change:

    iPhone-less glasses.

    hooking up an android to bulky glasses is the past. I expect Apple's glasses to be more expensive and non goofy.
    Not sure if that would work. You would still need the phone hooked up to the glasses somehow. Only option would be a cable. That's more cumbersome than hooking up phone directly into the glasses. 
    We can ignore some of the limitations of current technology. Let's dream a little and assume the stuff in the works will be better.  Why would the only option be a cable?  Why wouldn't the glasses connect with a video version of the W1 chip?  The AirPods demonstrate an ability to stuff battery and whatnot into a very small package.  Many fashionable eyeglasses have very thick temples.  I think you could make a fashionable frame with plenty of stuff hidden. The trick will be to hide a camera in the bridge and it will have to be hidden very effectively to avoid the glass hole effect and so the wearer doesn't look like a freaky minotaur. 
    So if others couldn't SEE the camera on the man in the bar restroom then they'd be OK with Apple glasses in there? As I remember it the camera simply being there in the first place was the issue being promoted to fear Google Glass even tho it gave clear indication when it was in use. Why would folks accept an iWear camera, especially a hidden one?

    If Apple is developing a similar product to be used on the street and in public I think that's the PR problem that needs to be solved. 

    Because Apple isn't an advertising company. Google is.
    repressthispatchythepiratecaliRayz2016watto_cobraStrangeDays
  • Reply 10 of 53
    boltsfan17boltsfan17 Posts: 1,175member
    williamh said:
    cali said:
    If Apple enters the market I expect one MAJOR change:

    iPhone-less glasses.

    hooking up an android to bulky glasses is the past. I expect Apple's glasses to be more expensive and non goofy.
    Not sure if that would work. You would still need the phone hooked up to the glasses somehow. Only option would be a cable. That's more cumbersome than hooking up phone directly into the glasses. 
    We can ignore some of the limitations of current technology. Let's dream a little and assume the stuff in the works will be better.  Why would the only option be a cable?  Why wouldn't the glasses connect with a video version of the W1 chip?  The AirPods demonstrate an ability to stuff battery and whatnot into a very small package.  Many fashionable eyeglasses have very thick temples.  I think you could make a fashionable frame with plenty of stuff hidden. The trick will be to hide a camera in the bridge and it will have to be hidden very effectively to avoid the glass hole effect and so the wearer doesn't look like a freaky minotaur. 
    As of now, you would need the cable since the phone would be essentially the processor for games. Maybe Apple is developing a good wireless solution, but I think that is still years away. The biggest hurdle for wireless VR is latency. No one has come up with a viable solution yet. The technology isn't there yet. I'm sure Apple is more than capable of creating a solution so it will be interesting to see if this rumor turns out to be true. I hope it does. 
    edited January 9 watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 53
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 15,532member
    gatorguy said:
    williamh said:
    cali said:
    If Apple enters the market I expect one MAJOR change:

    iPhone-less glasses.

    hooking up an android to bulky glasses is the past. I expect Apple's glasses to be more expensive and non goofy.
    Not sure if that would work. You would still need the phone hooked up to the glasses somehow. Only option would be a cable. That's more cumbersome than hooking up phone directly into the glasses. 
    We can ignore some of the limitations of current technology. Let's dream a little and assume the stuff in the works will be better.  Why would the only option be a cable?  Why wouldn't the glasses connect with a video version of the W1 chip?  The AirPods demonstrate an ability to stuff battery and whatnot into a very small package.  Many fashionable eyeglasses have very thick temples.  I think you could make a fashionable frame with plenty of stuff hidden. The trick will be to hide a camera in the bridge and it will have to be hidden very effectively to avoid the glass hole effect and so the wearer doesn't look like a freaky minotaur. 
    So if others couldn't SEE the camera on the man in the bar restroom then they'd be OK with Apple glasses in there? As I remember it the camera simply being there in the first place was the issue being promoted to fear Google Glass even tho it gave clear indication when it was in use. Why would folks accept an iWear camera, especially a hidden one?

    If Apple is developing a similar product to be used on the street and in public I think that's the PR problem that needs to be solved. 

    Because Apple isn't an advertising company. Google is.
    Sorry, but that's not what garnered the Glasshole moniker, with even threats of bodily harm to some folks if they were to walk into bars, restrooms, theaters or perhaps simply looking at someone while wearing them. Ads had zero to do with it. 
    edited January 9 repressthiscali
  • Reply 12 of 53
    I also am close to cracking the ultimate VR machine, otherwise known as lucid dreaming. If I suspect I'm dreaming I will see if I can push my finger through the palm of my hand, which I've managed to do one time which is a sure sign I'm dreaming then I just took off for a flying tour around what my brain decided was the city.

    Yesterday while being certain I was not dreaming I nevertheless suspected I might be, but when I went to push my finger through the palm of my hand it didn't go through, I sort of watched the top of my finger disappear into my palm and looking at the other side there was a noticeable bump on back of my hand but I couldn't work out if that was normal or not, so I tentatively went to see if I fly could by hurling myself forward but as I wasn't sure, I decided against it. 

    I couldn't believe it when I woke up later and realised that I indeed was dreaming, I checked the finger palm thing while awake and of course the tip of ones finger does not disappear into your palm nor is there a bump on the other side. Doh! I've since decided to scrap the finger palm test and try to train myself in the more reliable method of looking as some words or numbers, then looking away then looking back at the words. If you're dreaming when you relook it will all be different, your brain cannot reconstruct words or numbers.

    If you are deep in a dream and you can work out you're dreaming then 'virtual reality' machines like the one in this article are just plain silly, it's like comparing  two tin cans and a piece of string with an iPhone except even worse. If you manage to wake up in a dream, then there is literally no limit at all to what you can do. None, because all experience is constructed entirely in your brain which is where all non virtual reality takes place anyway. It takes more work but the rewards are literally infinitely better.
    edited January 9 repressthispatchythepiratecali
  • Reply 13 of 53
    cali said:
    If Apple enters the market I expect one MAJOR change:

    iPhone-less glasses.

    hooking up an android to bulky glasses is the past. I expect Apple's glasses to be more expensive and non goofy.
    Not sure if that would work. You would still need the phone hooked up to the glasses somehow. Only option would be a cable. That's more cumbersome than hooking up phone directly into the glasses. 
    Why cable? If Apple can stream content from your phone to an AppleTV without a cable, what's to stop them from streaming the content or a modified mirror image to a pair of glasses? By next year I'm sure Apple will have the technology dialed in to make it less bulky than today's hardware. 
    caliwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 53
    YevYev Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    cali said:
    If Apple enters the market I expect one MAJOR change:

    iPhone-less glasses.

    hooking up an android to bulky glasses is the past. I expect Apple's glasses to be more expensive and non goofy.
    Not sure if that would work. You would still need the phone hooked up to the glasses somehow. Only option would be a cable. That's more cumbersome than hooking up phone directly into the glasses. 
    Jeezuz don't be so thick, what do you think AirPods tech is about, and their own W1 chip.
    caliwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 53
    cali said:
    If Apple enters the market I expect one MAJOR change:

    iPhone-less glasses.

    hooking up an android to bulky glasses is the past. I expect Apple's glasses to be more expensive and non goofy.
    Not sure if that would work. You would still need the phone hooked up to the glasses somehow. Only option would be a cable. That's more cumbersome than hooking up phone directly into the glasses. 
    Not if the glasses have their own built-in chip and connect with iPhone through bluetooth. similar to Airpods.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 53
    crowley said:
    So they might be heading in a more Google Glass direction than others.  That'd be interesting.

    Yup. But instead of releasing a half-baked product early to developers with inferior hardware and hoping they figure out uses for it, Apple will keep it under wraps and only release a finished version. 
    We Hope !?
  • Reply 17 of 53
    Hope Apple VR and AR materilize soon...
    They have been at it through their RD initiative for a long time. ( i know from decade old job listings)

    I bought a Sony PS4 VR sys this holiday... its fantastic.. the frontier is ready for the consumer and the mainstream!
    Everyone who has tried it just gets blown away by the experience ... to a point where they force me to take my whole system to evey party/gathering i go..
    Everyone loves it.......Kids and Adults ! It wonderful and its just the beginning. 

    I hope Apple considers this as one of their priorities in their upcoming product lineup . Not just AR but VR and all derivatives.
  • Reply 18 of 53
    This is one area where Apple's fixation on miniaturization will truly have a game-changing effect on an entire product category.  Non-goofy-glasses/goggles are what could finally take AR into the mainstream.
    caliwatto_cobraStrangeDays
  • Reply 19 of 53
    If this encounter with the KZ employee ever happened like that, Apple will certainly terminate the agreement and collect a penalty.
  • Reply 20 of 53
    gatorguy said:
    gatorguy said:
    williamh said:
    cali said:
    If Apple enters the market I expect one MAJOR change:

    iPhone-less glasses.

    hooking up an android to bulky glasses is the past. I expect Apple's glasses to be more expensive and non goofy.
    Not sure if that would work. You would still need the phone hooked up to the glasses somehow. Only option would be a cable. That's more cumbersome than hooking up phone directly into the glasses. 
    We can ignore some of the limitations of current technology. Let's dream a little and assume the stuff in the works will be better.  Why would the only option be a cable?  Why wouldn't the glasses connect with a video version of the W1 chip?  The AirPods demonstrate an ability to stuff battery and whatnot into a very small package.  Many fashionable eyeglasses have very thick temples.  I think you could make a fashionable frame with plenty of stuff hidden. The trick will be to hide a camera in the bridge and it will have to be hidden very effectively to avoid the glass hole effect and so the wearer doesn't look like a freaky minotaur. 
    So if others couldn't SEE the camera on the man in the bar restroom then they'd be OK with Apple glasses in there? As I remember it the camera simply being there in the first place was the issue being promoted to fear Google Glass even tho it gave clear indication when it was in use. Why would folks accept an iWear camera, especially a hidden one?

    If Apple is developing a similar product to be used on the street and in public I think that's the PR problem that needs to be solved. 

    Because Apple isn't an advertising company. Google is.
    Sorry, but that's not what garnered the Glasshole moniker, with even threats of bodily harm to some folks if they were to walk into bars, restrooms, theaters or perhaps simply looking at someone while wearing them. Ads had zero to do with it. 

    Snap Spectacles are now being worn by a lot of people and I don't see them getting any derogatory nicknames or people threatening violence against them. Why do you think Google Glass was derided and Snap Spectacles aren't?

    Google makes its living on advertising. This requires them to suck up huge amounts of data on people and their habits in order to support their advertising business (basically their entire business). Google has been in the news numerous times for shady practices regarding collection of data.
     
    Apple makes its money on hardware, not on your data. And they are staunch supporters of user privacy and security and have been involved in high profile cases where they stood their ground (like the San Bernadino case). Apple has been promoting themselves as a company that values user privacy for many years, often taking swipes at Google in the process.

    Apple won't have nearly the same issues Google had if they introduce something like Glass. They will announce it with an emphasis on privacy and they'll have their company history on their side to back up the talk.
    edited January 9 calipatchythepiratewatto_cobramacplusplus
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