Apple met with AR component suppliers during CES

During this week’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), representatives Apple, Facebook, and Google met with suppliers “that make the nuts and bolts required to power AR glasses,” according to Bloomberg, quoting unnamed sources.

All eyes are on Apple, which considers AR as potentially revolutionary as the smartphone, the article adds. “Put simply, we believe AR is going to change the way we use technology forever,” CEO Tim Cook said in a recent earnings call. Apple aims to have technology ready by the end of 2019, Bloomberg claims.

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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.

Apple has applied for multiple patents regarding AR and scooped up some AR-related companies. In 2015, the tech giant purchased Metaio, a company makes Metaio Creator, an AR authoring tool. Metaio says it allows for quick and easy creation and deployment of AR scenarios that are based on the latest tracking technologies. 

In 2013, Apple bought PrimeSense, an Israeli maker of chips that enable three-dimensional (3D) machine vision. The chip's 3D sensors are designed to enable nature interaction between people and devices and between devices and their surroundings. Its machine vision products map out 3D environments and track movements of bodies, faces and facial expressions.

What’s more, Apple is experimenting with various types of augmented reality (AR) glasses, according to the Financial Times. Some use their own integrated display; others work with an iPhone.

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.”