It appears that Apple‘s ambitious plans for a pair of lightweight augmented reality (AR) glasses have hit a roadblock. According to Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman, the company has suspended work on the project due to technical challenges. Gurman went on to suggest that the company’s “dream of offering a lightweight pair of AR glasses that people could wear all day now appears many years away – if it happens at all.”
It’s been suggested that Apple sees AR glasses as a potential replacement for the iPhone, moving the handset’s functions to a display incorporated into high-tech specs. However, the development of such a device has proved to be more challenging than anticipated. Google, for example, invested heavily in the development of its Google Glass specs but ended up scaling down the project. The challenge lies in trying to fit so much technology – including a powerful battery – into a device that’s supposed to look like a regular pair of glasses.
Despite the setback, Apple is still planning to release a premium mixed-reality headset this year, and a lower-cost mixed-reality headset, possibly called Reality One, in 2024. The Bloomberg report also stated that most of Apple’s 1,000-plus-person unit dedicated to AR and VR is “focused on the first two mixed-reality headsets,” with some teams still “exploring technologies that would go into standalone glasses, should they eventually launch.”
It seems that while the company’s plans for AR glasses may have hit a bump in the road, Apple’s commitment to AR and VR technology remains strong. The company is still planning to launch multiple mixed-reality products in the near future and is likely to continue exploring the possibilities of standalone AR glasses. However, it appears that the release of such a product is now further away than previously anticipated and it’s uncertain if it will happen at all.