What you need to know

  • Apple has filed a patent for its long-rumored AR headset.
  • The patent was filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
  • The description says the headset could include a reflective holographic combiner to direct light.

Apple has filed a patent for its long-rumored AR headset with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The patent was first spotted by The Information's Alex Heath.

For the past few years, Apple has been rumored to be creating some sort of AR headset, but the company has been radio silent on the topic, until now.

Here is what the patent's abstract says.

An augmented reality headset may include a reflective holographic combiner to direct light from a light engine into a user's eye while also transmitting light from the environment. The combiner and engine may be arranged to project light fields with different fields of view and resolution to match the visual acuity of the eye. The combiner may be recorded with a series of point to point holograms; one projection point interacts with multiple holograms to project light onto multiple eye box points. The engine may include a laser diode array, a distribution waveguide, scanning mirrors, and layered waveguides that perform pupil expansion and that emit wide beams of light through foveal projection points and narrower beams of light through peripheral projection points. The light engine may include focusing elements to focus the beams such that, once reflected by the holographic combiner, the light is substantially collimated.

Apple files for patents all the time, so don't take this as gospel that Apple will release an AR headset. However, this does give us confirmation that Apple is considering the idea and may be cooking up some interesting prototypes at Apple Park.

It may be a while before Apple releases the AR headset, if it ever does. Nevertheless, this does add some excitement for the future of AR with Apple experiementing with more ideas.