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Apple applies for yet another head-mounted AR display patent

Apple has applied for yet another patent for an augmented reality (AR) headset. Patent filing number 20180039052 is for an “optical system for head-mounted display.”

The invention involves a head-mounted display that includes a display system and an optical system. Head-mounted displays such as virtual reality glasses use lenses to display images for a user. A microdisplay may create images for each of a user’s eyes. A lens may be placed between each of the user’s eyes and a portion of the microdisplay so that the user may view virtual reality content. 

However, in the patent filing, Apple says that, if care is not taken, a head-mounted display may be cumbersome and tiring to wear. Optical systems for head-mounted displays may use arrangements of lenses that are bulky and heavy. Extended use of a head-mounted display with this type of optical system may be uncomfortable. Apple thinks it can come up with a better solution than current AR glasses.

This isn’t Apple’s first patent regarding head-mounted displays (HMDs). The company has been granted several patents for such technology. In January the Financial Times reported that Apple has “assembled a large team of experts in virtual and augmented reality and built prototypes of headsets…”. 

In a June 2017 blog post, venture capitalist Gene Munster says iPhone growth will peak in fiscal year 2019, then slowly decline as “Apple Glasses” emerge. He thinks those glasses, an AR-focused wearable, will be released mid-fiscal year 2020. 

Of course, Apple files for — and is granted — lots of patents by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Many are for inventions that never see the light of day. However, you never can tell which ones will materialize in a real product.

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the news editor of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.