In case you haven’t noticed, Apple is slowly but surely pushing augmented reality into the mainstream.
But if you’re wondering how Apple can make the jump from something like the new iPhone X to a pair of smart glasses, this GIF nails how that evolution could take place:
This GIF was a concept made by Leo Costa, which he uploaded to the 3D-sketching “uMake” app for iPad. As you can tell from the GIF, Costa uses the same TrueDepth camera system from the iPhone X — with its front-facing camera and sensors to capture 3D information — to serve as the foundation for Apple’s augmented-reality (AR) smart glasses.
Augmented reality, for those unfamiliar, lets you see virtual images in the real world. As Paul Canetti put it so well recently, AR is like “photoshopping the whole world.” So if you look at the GIF, putting the TrueDepth camera system on the front of a pair of smart glasses would make a great deal of sense, since a pair of AR glasses would need to be able to capture depth information on an ongoing basis to work properly.
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For over a year now, we’ve been hearing that Apple is working on a pair of AR smart glasses. Apple laid the foundation in June with the announcement of ARKit, which effectively baked augmented reality into iOS. A few months later, it announced the iPhone 8 and iPhone X, the first iPhones with the A11 Bionic chip that’s capable of producing more detailed AR experiences. Apple even showcased several AR demos at its September event.
Apple isn’t the only tech company invested in AR. Snapchat uses AR for its popular “Lens” feature, which adds special effects to your selfies. Microsoft also makes an AR headset, the HoloLens, which is currently available to developers. And Magic Leap, based in Florida, recently raised $502 million in October to bring its rumored AR glasses to life.