They’ve been rumors that Apple might be looking into virtual reality (many thought the iPhone 7 Plus’ double camera was partly for that), but I’ve always thought that Augmented Reality would be a better path for the company because it’s easier to implement and, frankly, more useful. Now it looks like Apple is indeed looking into making its own version of Google Glass. Specifically, Apple is apparently looking into developing digital glasses that would connect wirelessly to the iPhone, show information in the wearer’s field of vision, and perhaps even offer full on augmented reality. Apple has even talked to potential suppliers for such a device and has ordered small quantities of near-eye displays for testing.
Now, this doesn’t mean you should start saving for your iGlass or Apple Glass; Apple often tries new ideas that end up never leaving the prototype stage. However, the company has shown its willingness to enter the wearables market with the Apple Watch and has continuously been working on making Siri better with the aim of enabling fully hands-free operation of your mobile device. And the huge success of Pokemon GO (Free) certainly hasn’t gone unnoticed.
The problem is that glasses are actually necessary for many people (including me), so that makes digital glasses a very different item than a watch. If I have to wear something on my face all day long, it needs to actually help me see properly and also fit my personal style. As Google found out with its Google Glass, people don’t want to look like idiots when walking down the street. Maybe in the near future digital glass technology will be something you attach to your glasses rather than its own device.
In terms of gaming, Pokemon GO has shown the gaming potential that exists in AR, but at the same time it has shown the relatively-limited gameplay opportunities AR offers. Yes, it’s fun blending the real world with the virtual world, but it’s not that easy to turn AR experiences into a game. I could see narrative-based games like Lifeline ($0.99) taking advantage of digital glasses by allowing players to interact with the story without pulling out their phones, but that’s not really that revolutionary; that’s like using your Apple Watch. So I’m curious to see whether we’ll get Apple digital glasses in the first place and if we do, whether game developers will take advantage of them.