Apple's AR smart glasses & ARM Mac may arrive in 2020

Posted:
in General Discussion edited June 2020
In a report on Monday morning, Apple is again predicted to roll out its long-awaited augmented reality smart glasses and an ARM Mac in 2020.

The Magic Leap One Lightwear AR goggles, an example of a headset
The Magic Leap One Lightwear AR goggles, an example of a headset


Augmented reality continues to be a growth area for developers alongside virtual reality, as shown by the adoption of ARKit by iOS developers, and has led to some long-term rumors of Apple creating some form of AR headset or smart glasses with similar capabilities that use the technology.

In the latest report about the supposed devices, Bloomberg again claims Apple has targeted 2020 as a release year for the Apple AR headset. The glasses are claimed to offer typically-expected functions by synchronizing "with a wearer's iPhone" to display texts, emails, maps, and games over the user's field of view, possibly employing some form of AR interactions in the process.

It is suggested Apple has considered creating a dedicated App Store for the device, in a similar fashion to the iPhone and iPad, Mac, Apple TV, and Apple Watch versions. Apple has also reportedly hired "experts in graphics and game development" to make the glasses the best in its field and "an eventual successor to the iPhone."

At the same time, it is thought Apple "hasn't yet come up with an application that will make the glasses a must-buy." The lack of a feature to motivate consumers and a need to perfect AR technology could push the release of the glasses further into the future, until they are both at an adequate-enough level for Apple to consider releasing them.

There is already a lot of evidence Apple is trying to solve the killer app issue and to make the best possible version of the product in patent filings, such as for gaze tracking, laser range-finding, and holographic elements. There have even been references in iOS 13's code for stereo AR apps and the codename "Garta," while a September examination of the iOS 13 Gold Master includes strings relating to stereoscopic content.

Whenever Apple does go to market with its eyewear, it may do so with somewhat sparse competition in terms of AR. Facebook is believed to be working on smart glasses that connect to a smartphone, but without AR or a built-in display, while Amazon's just launched Echo Frames are effectively an Echo in a compact size that do not offer any visual feedback, only audio.

Google Glass is arguably its nearest competitor, but that was deemed a massive failure for the search company and has become a very limited tool in some industries rather than a mass-market device. Meanwhile the Magic Leap One is still largely in its development phase, with the company providing the AR headset to developers with a view to create content for the mixed-reality device.

The report's musing is only the latest in a number of similar pronouncements from industry observers, and follows one recent claim from famed analyst Ming-Chi Kuo that such a device is destined for a second quarter 2020 launch. Kuo claims manufacturing of the glasses or AR headset will commence before the end of 2019, but Apple could also work with unnamed third-party firms to create what he refers to as AR "helmets" the same year.

There is no new data in the Bloomberg report on Monday beyond what has already been published.

ARM Mac in 2020

Bloomberg also raises other elements it believes Apple is preparing for 2020, including a version of the Apple Watch with sleep-tracking features, and upgrades to the Mac lineup which the report says that might run on custom processors, which would likely have greater efficiency and lower battery drain.

This is not the first prediction about this, and not Gurman's either. The prospect of Apple shifting from Intel processors to its own custom ARM-based silicon has been discussed for a decade, and pinned for a 2020 release for some time. Given the success of its own designs in the A-series chips used in the iPhone and other devices, the greater control over the chip's features could give Apple an edge over other PC vendors.

At the 2019 WWDC, Apple further detailed technology allowing for easy porting of iOS to run in macOS. Coupling that with the extinction of 32-bit apps in Catalina, there are signposts on the road that suggest that a shift to the ARM processor is at least being seriously considered.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 27
    LOL at Magic Leap. Talk about one of the most overhyped products since the Moller Skycar. A total bust.
    cornchipjohnbsiriusboxcatcher
  • Reply 2 of 27
    davgregdavgreg Posts: 803member
    I would expect to see Apple move to custom GPU chips before moving to ARM, but macOS on ARM is certainly doable. The PPC chips were RISC type chips like the ARM chips. Microsoft has taken another try at Windows on ARM and this time not as a loss leader- the Intel chipset Surface costs less than the ARM model.

    What makes me doubt Apple switching to ARM on the Mac is the investment in iPad OS as a fork of iOS. IPad OS has moved the tablet ever closer to be able to replace a laptop for many/most users. I recently bought a MacBook Air but to be honest use my iPad Pro more- at home I almost exclusively use a desktop Mac.
  • Reply 3 of 27
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,526member
    Too bad Bloomberg’s story is paywalled because I’ve already looked at three of their stupid articles this month. But I did get a look at the ugliest dis-illustration of Apple glasses they could come up with. Don’t they, including Gurman, have any taste at all?

    Anyway, thanks to AI for the update. The glasses are going to be a very big deal.
  • Reply 4 of 27
    There is really no rush for Apple to come out with AR glasses.  The longer they wait the more refined and cheaper they can make it.
    I think the Microsoft Hololens costs a couple grand.
    cornchipboxcatcherlolliver
  • Reply 5 of 27
    davgreg said:
    I would expect to see Apple move to custom GPU chips before moving to ARM, but macOS on ARM is certainly doable. The PPC chips were RISC type chips like the ARM chips. Microsoft has taken another try at Windows on ARM and this time not as a loss leader- the Intel chipset Surface costs less than the ARM model.

    What makes me doubt Apple switching to ARM on the Mac is the investment in iPad OS as a fork of iOS. IPad OS has moved the tablet ever closer to be able to replace a laptop for many/most users. I recently bought a MacBook Air but to be honest use my iPad Pro more- at home I almost exclusively use a desktop Mac.
    AMD? Yes, ARM? No. They already have custom GPUs designed jointly by AMD and Apple.

    PPC were not RISC like. They were RISC. Modern x86 are a joint CISC/RISC design.
    edited October 2019
  • Reply 6 of 27
    y2any2an Posts: 86member
    Mac on ARM depends on Office on ARM which MS is delivering... so this is credible now
    cornchip
  • Reply 7 of 27
    cornchipcornchip Posts: 1,835member
    Bold claim.
  • Reply 8 of 27
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 1,498member
    In the latest report about the supposed devices, Bloomberg again claims...
    The same Bloomberg that still has not retracted the completely debunked server spy chip story? So why should I believe them this time?
    At the same time, it is thought Apple "hasn't yet come up with an application that will make the glasses a must-buy."
    Well for me at least They haven’t come up with an application that will make thenApple Watch a “must buy”. Not anything against the AW mind you. I just do not have a use case for it yet. I don’t see anything compelling. It was close with the 4 and 5 but for me it’s not there yet, not at $500 each here in Canada. YMMV but even if they do come out in 2020 I wouldn’t expect to be getting a pair for a while.
    seanj
  • Reply 9 of 27
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 2,356member
    I wonder if the MacBook will resurface with an ARM SOC...
  • Reply 10 of 27
    philboogiephilboogie Posts: 7,671member
    flaneur said:
    Too bad Bloomberg’s story is paywalled because I’ve already looked at three of their stupid articles this month.
    Deleting their Cookie doesn't fix this?
  • Reply 11 of 27
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,341member
    davgreg said:
    I would expect to see Apple move to custom GPU chips before moving to ARM, but macOS on ARM is certainly doable. The PPC chips were RISC type chips like the ARM chips. Microsoft has taken another try at Windows on ARM and this time not as a loss leader- the Intel chipset Surface costs less than the ARM model.

    What makes me doubt Apple switching to ARM on the Mac is the investment in iPad OS as a fork of iOS. IPad OS has moved the tablet ever closer to be able to replace a laptop for many/most users. I recently bought a MacBook Air but to be honest use my iPad Pro more- at home I almost exclusively use a desktop Mac.
    IPad OS is a fork only in name.  There are UI differences but 9x % of the underlaying technical code is the same between iOS and iPad OS. 

    As for Mac ARM.   Apple is already designing their custom GPU and dropped Imagination a couple of generations ago I believe.   Apple is also uniquely positioned to do Mac on ARM better than Microsoft because Apple can leverage their ARM production across different product lines. Because they’re shipping a bajillion iOS devices it should allow their team to scale up existing work to desktop/laptop class processing.   

    I don’t expect ARM Macs to be cheaper but I wouldn’t be surprised to see them become the test bed for perhaps features like built in 5G Modems. 
  • Reply 12 of 27
    Can't get excited about this.
    hmurchisonCloudTalkinSpamSandwich
  • Reply 13 of 27
    muaddib said:
    There is really no rush for Apple to come out with AR glasses.  The longer they wait the more refined and cheaper they can make it.
    I think the Microsoft Hololens costs a couple grand.
    Yeah but Hololens is a commercial product.  I think Apple (if rumors are true) would focus on a consumer product.  Apples and oranges (intended).
    Their product wouldn't get cheaper the longer they wait.  Economies of scale over time make products cheaper.  Simply waiting does nothing.
  • Reply 14 of 27
    knowitallknowitall Posts: 1,648member
    No factual argument is given.
    caladanian
  • Reply 15 of 27
    tjwolftjwolf Posts: 369member
    y2an said:
    Mac on ARM depends on Office on ARM which MS is delivering... so this is credible now
    I think Mac on ARM depends on a lot more than Office on ARM.  Most notably for a lot of developers, any Mac will need the tools they're currently using on the Intel version.  And there are hundreds of critically important ones - from compilers/interpreters for Java, C++, Python, Go, etc. to IDEs like Netbeans, Eclipse, IntelliJ.  From shells to VMs to Web Servers.....provided Apple makes ARM compilers freely available, there may not be much of an issue with open source tools, but it will still take time.

    Meanwhile the transition from PowerPC to Intel was relatively painless since, by that time, the Intel chips were plenty fast to run PPC apps in an emulator (Rosetta).  But I'm not sure Ax is powerful enough to run x86 apps sufficiently fast.  But who knows - maybe an Ax based Mac might bundle a few of those Ax chips to keep things hopping.
  • Reply 16 of 27
    yojimbo007yojimbo007 Posts: 1,124member
    That is Much earlier than i expected.. But if true, all i can say is “YEEEE HAAAAA” Super excited about the AR glasses !!!
    lolliver
  • Reply 17 of 27
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,526member

    flaneur said:
    Too bad Bloomberg’s story is paywalled because I’ve already looked at three of their stupid articles this month.
    Deleting their Cookie doesn't fix this?
    Thanks. But I gotta figure out how to delete just their stupid cookies? And then what would I complain about? 🤐
  • Reply 18 of 27
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,526member
    That is Much earlier than i expected.. But if true, all i can say is “YEEEE HAAAAA” Super excited about the AR glasses !!!
    Hey, somebody who gets it! Seriously, get ready for an avalanche of negativity, like when the iPad came out.
  • Reply 19 of 27
    EDDIE_J_64EDDIE_J_64 Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    I would like to see glasses with blue tooth so I can just sit on my deck with my laptop and watch a movie or listen to music w/o a smartphone.
    Is there anything like this out there?
  • Reply 20 of 27
    seanjseanj Posts: 209member
    Now that Microsoft has a full blown version of Windows 10 (not RT) ruing on their own Arm  hardware, Apple may be tempted to make an early switch to using their own processors in Macs...
    But personally I think Apple will wait until they can ditch Intel completely, which means not just being able to replace Intel in the MacBook Air, but also replace Intel in the new Mac Pro trolley.
    (I think that’s also what they did previously when jumping processors - 68,000 to PowerPC, PowerPC to Intel...?)
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