Rumor: Apple is developing AR glasses for 2019

Apple is indeed developing augmented reality (AR) glasses that will go on sale as soon as the end of 2019, Jeff Pu, an analyst at Yuanta Investment Consulting, told the Nikkei Asian Review

He hints that Apple metal frame and casing supplier Catcher Technology  would be making the metal components for such a gadget. Apple is more interested in AR than virtual reality (VR), because the former connects people whereas the latter is often an isolating experience involving a headset that renders the user blind to the real world.

The Financial Times reported in August that Apple is experimenting with various types of augmented reality (AR) glasses. Some use their own integrated display; others work with an iPhone.

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I’d bet on the latter. Apple has applied for several patents regarding AR. For instance, patent number 9,482,869 is for a “head-mounted display apparatus” for retaining a portable electronic device with display.”

Similar to patent number 8,957,835, it’s for VR goggles that would connect with an iPhone. It seems to involve connecting an iPhone (or perhaps an iPod touch) to a GoPro-ish head mount for viewing media on a private display.

And in a June 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. 

“We believe Apple see’s the AR future as a combination of the iPhone and some form of a wearable,” Munster writes. “With an average sale price of $1,300 we expect initial demand to be limited at just over 3m units compared to 242m iPhones that year.