YouTuber and increasingly trusted leak merchant Jon Prosser has released a video offering extensive details of Apple’s AR glasses project, including prices, features, release timeframe, and some specs and design info.
The leaker emphasises repeatedly that he has seen prototypes only, and that aspects of the product may change ahead of launch, which remains some time away. Nevertheless this is by far the most comprehensive leak related to one of Apple’s most mysterious projects.
Let’s start with the basics. Who’s this guy posting the video, and can we trust him?
He’s Jon Prosser, a YouTube presenter and tech analyst who only recently got seriously into the Apple leaks game but was pretty well known beforehand for leaks about other tech companies. He really made the big time when he accurately predicted April’s iPhone SE launch back in March, and followed it up with impressive detail about the MacBook Pro 13in. So yes, you can probably trust him.
I trust him with my life. When does he say Apple’s AR glasses will come out?
Apple plans to announce the AR glasses in either Q4 2020 or Q1 2021, which is reasonably soon – ideally at the iPhone 12 launch in September or October. Prosser reckons it’ll be positioned as “One more thing” at the end of the keynote, in the style made famous by Steve Jobs. And Apple wants the media present at the announcement, so its timing could shift depending on the coronavirus situation at the time. If that makes autumn impossible, it will be bumped to March 2021.
In any case, the glasses won’t be available to the public until much later: Q4 2021-Q1 2022. It’s not clear if there will be some sort of beta or limited-availability programme before then, as there was for Google Glass.
Note that despite Prosser publicly disagreeing with Ming-Chi Kuo, this timeline pretty much fits with Kuo’s – it just adds a pre-release announcement a year beforehand.
Google Glass was $1,500, so I’m guessing this will be expensive.
To be fair, the price of Google Glass came down a little – it was £1,000 at one point. But Apple’s AR glasses should still be comfortably cheaper – Prosser says $499 plus any costs for the prescription if you need one.
You haven’t said what they’ll be called yet. Let me guess. Apple Glasses?
Close. Apple Glass.
Are they… made of glass?
Possibly for the lenses, although spectacles sometimes use plastic instead. But the frames of the prototype that Prosser saw were definitely plastic. He warns that this may change to a different material later in development – likely metal.
Design-wise, you should ignore the more out-there concept illustrations doing the rounds. In most respects these will look like normal glasses, with a discreet LiDAR sensor on one side.
This goes against Apple’s pro-privacy position, doesn’t it? I remember the arguments about people being filmed by Google Glass.
That’s why there’s (currently) only LiDAR, which will be used for the AR functions. Apple Glass at this point does not have any conventional cameras. That may change.
What software will Apple Glass run? iOS?
I can’t imagine that would work very well. The user interface is currently called Starboard; iOS’s UI is called Springboard.
The glasses will be intimately connected to iOS, though: all data will be processed on the associated iPhone.
So I’ll control the glasses via the iPhone too?
No, it’ll be gesture controls. Both on the device – swipes and taps on the frame, we assume – and in front of your face, which it will see and interpret.
What’s the battery life like?
That we don’t know. But we do know that they will charge wirelessly on a little plastic stand.
Can I get them as sunglasses? I look cool in shades.
No you don’t. And no you can’t – apparently Apple’s displays “don’t work on tinted lenses”. Might be one for the second generation.
This is fascinating. Where can I find out all the latest information about Apple’s AR glasses?
I’d suggest Macworld UK’s guide to the Apple AR glasses. Those guys know their stuff.