Speculation is rife that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Carl Zeiss are partnering to develop augmented reality glasses. It is understood that the two could launch a product later this year. This is according to a renowned tech evangelist, Robert Scoble, who admitted his source was an employee of the German lens manufacturer whom he spoke to at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show.
“Apple and Carl Zeiss AG are working on a light pair of augmented reality/mixed reality glasses. That explains why there was no augmented reality in Zeiss’s booth even though it was right in the middle of the AR area,” said Scoble.
Apple favors augmented reality over virtual reality
Last year in September, Apple had indicated a preference for augmented reality as opposed to virtual reality. This was according to Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive officer, who suggested augmented reality held more opportunities and possibilities than virtual reality.
Augmented reality differs from virtual reality in that instead of immersing users in a newly created reality like the latter does, it overlays data and images on the existing world. A good example of augmented reality is Pokemon Go where characters in the game are displayed on the screens of the player’s smartphone while superimposed on the parks and streets that the player is exploring.
Apple is already strategically position for AR
To add weight to the speculation, a couple of patents dealing with augmented reality have been filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Apple. In 2014 for instance, a published patent application by Apple named ‘Transparent electronic device’ detailed how images could be superimposed on objects in the real world. Apple has also made a couple of hires as well as acquisitions that positions it as a future player in the augmented reality field.
Currently, Carl Zeiss already has a virtual reality device on the market called the VR One Plus. This is a headset that features special optics and is capable of turning a smartphone into an augmented or virtual reality system.
In Thursday’s trading session, shares of Apple Inc edged downwards by 0.42% to close the day at $119.25 a piece.