It's been a few years since Apple last released something truly brand new. Sure, we've seen tons of updated phones, tablets, watches and more, but we'd love to see a product as innovative as the very first iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch. If new leaks are to be believed, Apple could be gearing up to announce an entirely new gadget as soon as this year. But we can't help but wonder if it's something people actually want.
Rumours about Apple glasses have been floating around for years, but now well-reputed Apple leaker Jon Prosser has dropped a video on his Front Page Tech channel (below) with details on everything from the specs to release date and price. We even have a name for the new AR glasses: Apple Glass.
Prosser claims to have seen a prototype of Apple Glass, which thankfully is "meant to look like glasses, not intimidating tech". He claims that the glasses will contain a LiDar scanner, like the one found inside the latest iPad Pro (check out the best iPad apps for designers if you've already got your hands on it) – which Apple claims to offer "cutting-edge depth-sensing" for AR. Both lenses will be be able to display information through an interface called Starboard, and will be controllable via gestures and by tapping the frame.
According to Prosser, Apple Glass will cost $499 (plus prescription) – which makes them a pricey pair of specs. That price seems even higher considering Prosser's claim that most of the processing will take place on the user's iPhone – making Apple Glass more of a companion device than a standalone product.
While the AR capabilities sound impressive, we can't help wondering whether glasses are a wearable too far. The Apple Watch is already a very personal device, but it's also discreet – the same can't be said for something that sits on your nose. While we're pleased to hear that Apple is designing them to look like real glasses, designing a pair that suits everybody sounds a huge challenge – even for Apple.
And of course, who can forget the fate of the last high-profile set of of electronic glasses: Google Glass? Revealed to much fanfare in 2012, the glasses were withdrawn in 2015 amid privacy concerns. Prosser claims that Apple's glasses won't contain a camera for privacy reasons, but the failure of Google Glass surely tells us something about the public's appetite for electronic glasses. And if Apple doesn't want us to remember Google's effort, why call them Apple Glass?
But hey, we could be proved wrong. The appearance of Apple's AirPods was mercilessly mocked on release, but these days they're practically a fashion accessory. Apple Glass could well become the most popular specs on the street. We might not have to wait long to find out – Prosser says Apple Glass may arrive in 2021, and could even be announced at the end of this year.