Apple VR patent suggests Reality Pro will let you record with head-mounted camera

An artist's concept of Apple's VR headset, turned up to the right
(Image credit: Antonio De Rosa / ADR Studio Design)

Google Glass was Google's way of getting a phone-like experience directly next to your eyeballs — calls, texts, cameras, and all. Was it good? Arguably not. Was it controversial? Oh, yes.

The cameras on the side of the glasses were able to record people without the recordee even knowing that they were being included in a video. People, as people tend to, didn't like that idea too much, and so beyond just being a strange, perhaps too-early-to-market product, the Google Glass's short life was mired in controversy.

Apple, obviously looking to avoid this kind of controversy with the new Apple VR (or Reality Pro), has not only patented a camera to go on the outside but also a little light to let those around you know that the camera is recording.

A camera and an indicator

The patent, found by Patently Apple, details that there will be a camera on the outside of the device. This new patent integrates the recording indicator light into the camera itself — not just into the headset. A previous version looked to use an external accessory to the camera that would tell those around the user that they were being recorded. If Apple makes good on this patent, it'll all be one unit on the Reality Pro headset.

This camera, according to the patent, would appear to be integral to the Apple VR experience. In essence, the cameras will show users what's happening in the real world, while overlaying the data that 'Augments' reality on screen. It's an all-in-one, package deal too. The HD screens that are used to show the user the world outside are all part of the same module as the cameras, and the indicator lights show the outside world that cameras are in use.

Apple VR camera patent

(Image credit: Patently Apple)

There are other uses for this camera tech as well. It could be used in future Apple Watches, or even used in the best iPhones to let people around you know when you're recording a video, or just taking a picture.

Is this filing a little too late to appear in what will, with any luck, be announced at WWDC 2023? Perhaps – but as with all patents, it could be a little way down the line that something like this actually comes to the tech that we can buy, if it ever makes it to market in a product at all.

Tammy Rogers
Senior Staff Writer

As iMore's Senior Staff writer, Tammy uses her background in audio and Masters in screenwriting to pen engaging product reviews and informative buying guides. The resident audiophile (or audio weirdo), she's got an eye for detail and a love of top-quality sound. Apple is her bread and butter, with attention on HomeKit and Apple iPhone and Mac hardware. You won't find her far away from a keyboard even outside of working at iMore – in her spare time, she spends her free time writing feature-length and TV screenplays. Also known to enjoy driving digital cars around virtual circuits, to varying degrees of success. Just don't ask her about AirPods Max - you probably won't like her answer.