Further proof Apple's working on a pair of AR glasses

Patently Apple Mixed Reality Head Mounted Device Apple
Patently Apple Mixed Reality Head Mounted Device Apple (Image credit: Patently Apple)

What you need to know

  • Long-rumored AR glasses could launch this year.
  • The product could use a waveguided display system
  • The latest patient was published on February 13.

In the circular halls at Apple's headquarters, the iPhone maker could be working on a new mixed reality head-mounted device or HMD. The possible device uses a waveguided display system with adjustable lenses, according to a newly published patent that was first noted by Patently Apple.

According to documents published by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, the new HMD system has been conceptualized to look thinner and more modern than solutions offered by other vendors. It also exhibits "desired levels of optical performance." The filing notes the would-be device could allow an end-user to overlay computer-generated content over real-world content. The HMD would be tethered to an iPhone, iPad, or Mac.

Patently Apple explains:

Apple notes that real-world content may be viewed directly by a user through a transparent portion of an optical system when in AR mode. In another mode, the real-world will be captured by face cameras on the HMD. The optical system may be used to route images from one or more pixel arrays or a scanning device in a display system to the eyes of a viewer.A waveguide such as a thin planar waveguide formed from one or more sheets of transparent material such as glass or plastic or other light guides may be included in the optical system to convey image light from the pixel arrays to the viewer.

Apple has long been rumored to be working on a pair of Augmented Reality (AR) glasses. Previous rumors have suggested Apple's efforts are focused on ARKit, its platform for hundreds of millions of iPhone and iPad users. Apple sees AR as a core technology that will be part of many products coming in the future. Just like LCD and OLED are part of many products today. The first AR glasses by Apple could be released later this year.

The latest Apple patent, 20200049996, was published on February 13, 2020. There are various individuals listed as the system's inventors.

Bryan M Wolfe
Staff Writer

Bryan M. Wolfe has written about technology for over a decade on various websites, including TechRadar, AppAdvice, and many more. Before this, he worked in the technology field across different industries, including healthcare and education. He’s currently iMore’s lead on all things Mac and macOS, although he also loves covering iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Bryan enjoys watching his favorite sports teams, traveling, and driving around his teenage daughter to her latest stage show, audition, or school event in his spare time. He also keeps busy walking his black and white cocker spaniel, Izzy, and trying new coffees and liquid grapes.