Apple could be planning new wearables, starting with Carl Zeiss smart glasses

apple smart glasses rumor google glass diane von furstenberg 14
It appears that Apple might be getting in on the smart glasses game, a risky market in which Google famously failed with its botched Google Glass project. The much-maligned Google Glass project was scrapped after becoming the subject of online mockery for its awkward product design and high price tag. According to Bloomberg, however, we may see Apple-branded smart glasses as part of Apple’s new wearables push, following on the success of the Apple Watch.

It’s important to note that these are still rumors, but Apple may have already approached potential suppliers to acquire small quantities of near-eye displays for internal testing. Speaking with unidentified sources within Apple, Bloomberg claims that the contemplated Apple smart glasses would connect wirelessly to iPhones, and would display images and other information in the wearer’s field of view, and might even employ a version of augmented reality (AR).

The AR angle lends a little more credence to these rumors than they might otherwise warrant. Apple CEO Tim Cook has been an outspoken proponent of AR in the past, mentioning on a conference call in 2016 that the company has invested a lot of time and money in AR and plans to continue to invest in the nascent technology.

If anyone could pull this off, it would be Apple. The firm has a long history of building on existing technology by simply improving on design, and in fact, some of its greatest success stories have been innovative takes on existing — and popular — technologies. The iPod, iPhone, and Apple Watch all built on existing technology by seeking to improve the design and user experience. While the Apple Watch may still be in the early stages in terms of market acceptance, the iPod and iPhone have had an immense impact on their respective market spaces, transforming them entirely.

More recently, specifically at CES 2017, new speculation popped up that could provide some clarity to Apple’s possible AR plans, Apple Insider reports. According to Robert Scoble, Apple’s AR plans could involve leading optics company Carl Zeiss, which manned a booth location in the AR section of the CES 2017 floor but didn’t show off any new AR products.

Scoble speculates that Apple could have convinced Carl Zeiss to keep products resulting from a partnership under wraps, which would explain the curious lack of AR products being shown. Mac Insider notes that Carl Zeiss produces the VR One Plus headset that adds AR capabilities to smartphones, and so that company has some experience in the field.

So, while it’s likely a long way off, and may never happen, Apple-branded smart glasses could be just the kick that augmented reality needs to get off the ground as a ubiquitous, everyday piece of technology.

Article originally published in December 2016. Updated on 01-09-2017 by Mark Coppock: Added the new speculation around Apple’s possible involvement with optics manufacturer Carl Zeiss.

Product Review

Mediocre battery and a big notch slight Google's otherwise perfect Pixel phone

Google’s Pixel 3 XL has two big flaws: The gigantic notch on the front, and mediocre battery life. That being said, this is the best Android experience you can find in a smartphone today.
Mobile

Which new iPhone is the best? iPhone XS vs. iPhone XS Max vs. iPhone XR

Apple has three new iPhone models to choose from this year, making the choice a little harder than usual. What's the difference between the iPhone XS, the iPhone XS Max, and the iPhone XR, and which is best?
Podcasts

Apple Event speculation, Google Home vs. Echo Show, flying car for sale

On today's episode: Apple announces future announcements and we'll speculate as to what they will be. We'll have a live Google Home Hub vs Amazon Echo Show comparison, including a whispering Alexa. Facebook makes another creepy device…
Mobile

Google Pixel 3 vs. Apple iPhone XS: Does Google’s A.I. take down Apple?

The Google Pixel 3 is here, boasting top-tier specs like a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 and 4GB of RAM, and some of the world's best artificial intelligence features on a phone. But can it take out the Apple iPhone XS?
Wearables

These are the best smartwatches for everything from fashion to fitness

Tempted to buy a smartwatch? If so, then the growing number of great models available means you've got plenty to choose from. But which one should you pick? Here is our list of the best smartwatches.
Wearables

Our favorite fitness trackers make it fun to keep moving

Looking for your first fitness tracker, or an upgrade to the one you're already wearing? There are plenty of the wrist-worn gadgets available. Here are our picks for the best fitness trackers available right now.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: DIY smartphones and zip-on bike tires

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

Here’s all the best gear and gadgetry you can snag for $100 or less

A $100 bill can get you further than you might think -- so long as you know where to look. Check out our picks for the best tech under $100, whether you're in the market for headphones or a virtual-reality headset.
Product Review

The all-new Palm wants to be many things, but it’s really just a tiny smartphone

The all-new Palm is here, and it’s tinier than ever. Exclusive to Verizon, it syncs to your primary smartphone and acts as a secondary device -- with features to help you disconnect from technology. But at $350, is it worth the high price…
Mobile

Montblanc’s $995 Summit 2 watch stays on your wrist for longer between charges

Montblanc has taken the wraps off of the new Montblanc Summit 2 -- the first watch to feature the new Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100 processor. The watch features a premium design and Google's Wear OS.
Product Review

The Huawei Watch GT’s battery life gets a tick, but the software may not tock

Huawei’s track record with smartwatches is strong, having releases two models and several spin-offs to general acclaim. This is the Watch GT, and it moves away from Google’s Wear OS to focus on fitness, yet stays ahead of the…
Mobile

Inferiority is a feature now! Palm's new plan is psychotic

The Palm is a smartphone to reduce your smartphone usage, or a small smartphone for when you don't want to carry your big smartphone. Palm itself doesn't seem sure which it is, but either way, it's a product that's so witless, we're amazed…
Mobile

With Spotify for WearOS, you no longer need your phone to stream music

A Spotify app will soon be available for download on Wear OS smartwatches. Whether you're working out or lounging at home, you'll soon be able to access and control your music straight from your wrist.
Deals

The best Apple Watch deals for October 2018

The Apple Watch has surged to prominence in recent years. If you're in the market for an iOS wearable, we've sniffed out the best Apple Watch deals available right now for all three models of this great smartwatch.