Apple files for yet another patent for an augmented reality headset

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. 

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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.