Apple’s first crack at a headset is allegedly designed to be a pricey, niche precursor to a more ambitious augmented reality product that will take longer to develop. Apple is aiming to include some of its most advanced and powerful chips in the headset along with displays that are much higher-resolution than those in existing VR products. The headset, codenamed N301, is in a late prototype stage. “Apple Glass”, codenamed N431, on the other hand, are reportedly said to be in a pre-prototype stage known as “architecture”. (Bloomberg, Digital Trends, Apple Insider, CN Beta)
Apple Glasses might hold a clever trick that makes these rumored lenses less high-tech than we previously thought. According to a patent, Apple is working on a set of frames that are powered by a companion iPhone, rather than an independent display and software.
As spotted by PatentlyApple, the patent describes a head-mounted device (HMD) that looks like glasses but actually houses an iPhone between two parallel lenses. The result is a gadget that reminds us of Google Cardboard, but more sophisticated.
This isn’t the first time Apple has been awarded an HMD patent that integrates the company’s smartphone, so there’s no guarantee this version will see the light of day. That said, the latest iPhone 12 lineup offers some interesting advancements that make a compatible headset more feasible than ever.
For one, the iPhone’s cameras can be used to create a mixed reality experience thanks to LiDAR technology. Available on the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max, the LiDAR sensor on the back of the phone can add augmented reality effects to a real-world setting.