Rumors indicate that Apple has been working on augmented reality glasses. Reputable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo stated that Apple’s new eyewear will be available in mid 2020.
By Chand Bellur
October 9, 2019 at 9:02 p.m. PDT
Apple to Partner with Eyewear Makers for Augmented Reality Glasses
With the exception of Apple, most first generation tech products tend to be inelegant. Google Glass is a perfect example. It’s actually taken a foothold in enterprise computing, however, it’s not suitable for most consumers. Eyeglasses are something personal and one size does not fit all.
According to reputable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple is partnering with various third-party eyewear makers to create augmented reality glasses. Unlike Google Glass, these spectacles will not be autonomous. Much like the Apple Watch, the first generation product will depend on the iPhone for processing.
This strategy seems to mimic Apple’s smartwatch approach. Apple created a stylish device that everyone wanted, and it is, by far, the most popular wearable in the world. Perhaps Apple’s AR eyewear will bear the same fruit.
Is There a Market for Augmented Reality Eyewear?
Google Glass, Microsoft and Magic Leap have all marketed augmented reality eyewear, however, none have been successful. With some enterprise adoption, Google Glass has at least avoided market failure.
The problem is design. Eyewear is personal. Go to any optometry shop, and you’ll see hundreds, if not thousands of pairs of eyeglasses. Even with abundant selections, some picky customers still order online or from in-shop catalogs. Consumers just aren’t going to wear something that looks technical. At best, such products appeal to a niche, geek market.
Teaming up with design partners, Apple’s strategy will likely yield stylish eyewear. In fact, Apple being somewhat of a status symbol may convince consumers that they’re actually better than more conventional options. Given that the device will likely use the iPhone to do its heavy lifting, the frames will probably be light and stylish.
The global market for AR glasses is expected to reach $31 billion by 2023. While that may seem like a lot, it’s not huge by Apple’s standards. If they dominate eyewear, as they have with smartwatches, they may end up with a sizable chunk of that $31 billion.