Apple safety reports hint at augmented reality glasses, sort of

The incidents indicate that Apple is testing eye-adjacent devices.

apple ar headset design
Credit: USPTO

Is Apple really making a Google Glass-esque augmented reality device? We’re still skeptical, but a new report indicates the company is at least testing some sort of head-adjacent wearable.

A safety inspector contracted with Apple accidentally emailed an incident report to hundreds of Apple employees, who then sent the document to Gizmodo. The report details 70-plus health and safety incidents that involved Apple employees, two of which experienced injury or pain to the eye after using a mysterious prototype. What kind of prototype would hurt your eye? Perhaps a pair of augmented reality glasses?

One report described a February 21 incident: “After BT4 user study, user advised study lead, that she experienced discomfort in her eye and said she was able to see the laser flash at several points during the study. Study lead referred her to optometrist and secured prototype unit for analysis.”

On March 2, another employee also had an eye incident: “Employee reported eye pain after working with new prototype, thought it may be associated with use. He noticed that the security seal on the magenta (outer) case had been broken and had thought the unit may have been tampered with.”

OK, there’s little to no detail here. It’s not even clear if the two employees were using versions of the same device or totally different products. But Apple CEO Tim Cook has made bold statements about augmented reality over the last year, indicating that the company is working on AR products (though we hear the near-term vision for that technology is the iPhone).

The incident reports hint at other in-development projects, such as self-driving cars, and new Apple Watch features like ski-tracking, but there’s little in the way of specifics. And just because Apple employees are testing prototypes doesn’t mean any of this hardware will come to market. If Apple is in fact experimenting with augmented reality glasses, we’d prefer they wait to release them until, you know, the employee injuries are a thing of the past.

To comment on this article and other Macworld content, visit our Facebook page or our Twitter feed.
Shop Tech Products at Amazon