Apple AR Headset 'Approaching Liftoff' as Development Mirrors Period Before Apple Watch Launch
Apple's development of its rumored augmented reality (AR) headset is beginning to mirror the period before the launch of the Apple Watch, according to Morgan Stanley analysts.
In a note to investors, seen by Investor's Business Daily, Morgan Stanley analysts explained that after years of building expertise and a number of setbacks, Apple's long-awaited AR headset is "approaching liftoff." This is evidenced by the fact that Apple's AR project is purportedly beginning to match the development of the Apple Watch before its announcement in late 2014.
The company has published a huge number of patents related to augmented reality and virtual reality, including hardware, input mechanisms, and user interfaces. Now, "Apple's patent portfolio is beginning to mirror the period prior to the Watch launch."
Ahead of the Apple Watch's unveiling in 2014, Apple heavily patented the technology behind the device, including iPhone connectivity and sensors, pedometer functionality and step detection, low-power Bluetooth, and more. While MacRumors has been covering many of Apple's patents over a decade, there has been a noticeable uptick in patent filings related to head-mounted displays in recent times.
For example, today, Apple was granted a patent for wrist-based devices, such as the Apple Watch, "to produce a virtual representation of the hands or otherwise be used to receive and interpret gestures as user input" in a head-mounted display.
Morgan Stanley highlighted that while Apple has faced difficulties with the development of its AR technology, the project is steadily nearing launch:
The enormity of the technical challenge — compressing daylong battery, 5G, compute, cameras, lidar, projectors and wave guide lenses into a lightweight, attractive pair of glasses — is hard to overstate, but we are approaching liftoff.
The note added that "Apple's entry into the eyewear market will be the game changer for all participants as the technology gets normalized and popularized."