Apple has often being on the cutting edge of design over the years, and it is not surprising to see them take a stronger stance in incorporating new technologies into their products down the road. Augmented Reality (AR) is fast catching on and could be the next big thing, which is why there are already rumors going around that claim how Apple will be working alongside Carl Zeiss to churn out a pair of AR glasses that should be due some time next year.
In fact, this particular rumor gained even more attention as AR/VR evangelist Robert Scoble has been touted to say that Apple will be working alongside optics manufacturer Carl Zeiss, and right on the table would be a pair of lightweight glasses. Scoble based his report on information fed by an anonymous employee at Zeiss, and that the joint-effort could see a new pair of AR glasses make its debut in 2018. Not only that, Scoble lends more weight to this particular rumor by mentioning how the Zeiss booth at the recently concluded CES was located right smack in the middle of the AR section, despite not having any kind of AR, VR or mixed reality optics that could be shown off to visitors and industry players alike. The story behind it? Perhaps it could simply being a statement of intent, and to drive rumors such as this to create a pre-release hype of a particular product. If that were to be true, then it would also mean that Apple must have, in some way or another, asked Zeiss to remain mum on the situation until something is officially announced. Should the purported deal fail to proceed, perhaps that might be another piece of news that would report on what could have been.
At the moment, Zeiss has the VR One Plus headset in the market. The VR One Plus happens to be a headset that boasts of special optics which have the ability to transform just about any kind of smartphone into a virtual or augmented reality system. The VR One Plus is not alone in this game though, as there are also other big time players in the market such as Samsung and Google who do offer what is known as ‘viewers’.
It is not as though Apple has not expressed interest in the world of AR in the past. CEO Tim Cook did mention of AR technology a few times, although Apple being Apple, has remained rather silent on the matter. We are sure that once Cupertino has decided on how they are going to make a splash in this niche market, the whole world is going to sit up and take notice. Cook mentioned in an earnings conference call in 2016, "We are high on AR for the long run, we think there's great things for customers and a great commercial opportunity. So we're investing."
Perhaps a tie up with Zeiss is not too bad at all, as a standalone system might not be Apple’s cup of tea until they “master” the market in a sense.