Apple is picking up the pace of development for augmented reality (AR) eyewear as it and other technology companies make big bets that augmented reality glasses will be the way people access the internet in the future.
In a report in The Financial Times, citing people with knowledge of Apple’s AR efforts, the Times reported the company is picking up the pace in developing AR eyewear. The sources told the Times that about a year ago, Apple created a team to look at AR devices consumers would wear and is putting more resources toward those efforts with an eye on launching a consumer product. The report noted a device is a year or more away. It also stated that social media network giant Facebook is eyeing the market and has recently picked up the pace of research in that area.
While Apple and Facebook are trying to get into the market at a quicker pace they do face competition from the likes of Magic Leap, the Florida startup, and Microsoft. Magic Leap, which counts Alibaba and Alphabet as investors, is gearing up to launch its AR eyewear later in the year. The report noted the eyewear is likely to be connected to a small pack that gives the eyewear battery life and processing power and will cost more than $1,000. Microsoft has its HoloLens, which it launched two years ago but is only available to developers at the current time. It’s not clear when HoloLens will be available to consumers, which, the Times noted, gives Facebook and Apple time to play catch up in AR glasses. A popular example of AR was Nintendo’s Pokémon Go game that was a huge hit this past summer and blends real world with virtual reality elements using GPS, sound and video.