Apple’s VR glasses patent takes design cues from the Apple Watch

Apple glasses concept
A fan-made Apple glasses concept (Image credit: Patently Apple)

Apple's Vision Pro made quite the splash when the company launched it at WWDC in June. The AR headset represents the first new product category from Apple in years, and could be a game-changer for computing in general. But anyone hoping for something sleek and unassuming will have been disappointed – like any VR headset enormous Vision Pro isn't exactly an everyday wear.

But as well as a headset, we've heard repeated rumours that Apple is also working on a pair of 'smart glasses'. And if a newly granted patent filing is anything to go by the design could be much sleeker than Vision Pro, taking design cues from Apple's other more discreet wearable, the Apple Watch. (Check out the best Apple Watch Series 8 deals if you're in the market for new gear.)

Apple Vision Pro

Vision Pro isn't exactly small (Image credit: Apple)

As spotted by Patently Apple, Apple has recently won a patent catchily titled "Multi-input For Rotating And Translating Crown Modules". In short, it involves using a Digital Crown, like the one found on the Apple Watch, to cycle through AR overlays on a pair of glasses. The illustrations are as rudimentary as you might expect from a patent filing, but certainly look thinner and lighter than Vision Pro – and seeing as Apple has for a long time been rumoured to be working on a cheaper headset, it makes sense that this new filing could relate to that. 

A close up of the Apple Watch SE's display.

The Apple Watch is famous for its Digital Crown (Image credit: Apple)

According to 9to5Mac, Apple's "long-term goal" is to produce a wearable "that looks somewhat like conventional prescription eyeglasses". And given that 'mini' versions of its products often arrive a few years after the main event, it wouldn't be hard to imagine some kind of 'Vision mini', complete with digital crown.

Apple patent filing showing a glasses design with Digital Crown

A screenshot from the patent filing (Image credit: Patently Apple)

Indeed, AR goggles, no matter how sleek Apple's own interpretation, look daft at best, and dystopian at worst. Vision Pro, especially with its trailing charging cable, still looks kind of ridiculous to wear. But if a more unassuming version does indeed make it to market, we'll be first in line. 

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Daniel John
Senior News Editor

Daniel John is Senior News Editor at Creative Bloq. He reports on the worlds of art, design, branding and lifestyle tech (which often translates to tech made by Apple). He joined in 2020 after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more.