Apple has been filed for yet another patent (number 20180097920) for an augmented reality (AR) headset. This one is dubbed “head-mounted display apparatus for retaining a portable electronic device with display.”
The invention involves head-mounted display systems and methods of operation that allow users to couple and decouple a portable electronic device such as a handheld portable electronic device with a separate head-mounted device (e.g., an iPhone with AR glasses). The portable electronic gadget may be physically coupled to the head-mounted device such that it can be worn on the user's head.
The iPhone may be operatively coupled to the head-mounted device so that they can communicate and operate with one another. Each device may be allowed to extend its features and/or services to the other device for the purpose of enhancing, increasing and/or eliminating redundant functions between the head-mounted device and the portable electronic device.
In the patent filing, Apple notes that some current head-mounted device connect to a portable electronic device via a cable or wire. However, this can be “inconvenient,” “cumbersome,” and “unwieldy.” Apple says there’s a need for an improved head-mounted display system, particularly a system that temporarily integrates or merges both mechanically and electronically a head-mounted device with a portable electronic device.
You can read about some of the other, related patent filings here. On a related note, 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.