Apple's smart glasses could be taking the best Vision Pro feature — New patent suggests eye-tracking could come to Apple’s rumored AR glasses

vision pro
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple’s smart glasses have only recently had a handful of exciting patents this week, yet one more has just come out, and it’s probably the most interesting we’ve seen so far. 

The patent in question alludes to the use of eye-tracking, something already coming to the soon-to-be-released Apple Vision Pro. This is a really smart bit of tech. The abstract for the patent describes the function in more detail: “Light sources emit light beams towards the eye. A portion of the light beams are reflected by the surface of the eye towards the input coupler located in front of the eye.” Your eyes are hit with light from the glasses, and it uses the reflection to match the position of your eye. 

With this, you could control apps through a mixture of sight and hand tracking. The smart glasses could also learn from the PSVR2, which uses eye tracking for a system called ‘Foveated Rendering.’ This essentially only fully renders what you’re viewing, blurring the rest of the screen to get more out of the processing power of the device. 

The Vision Pro’s best feature — iMore’s take

Eye tracking is a particularly interesting feature for an AR device like smart glasses, which use a mixture of reality and digital components. Eye tracking can be used to figure out if you are looking at the UI or objects just past it and can, therefore, offer a much smoother experience. Apple’s smart glasses could offer the SE experience of the Apple Vision Pro, with some stripped-back features at a cheaper price point but still impressive in its own right. 

Smart glasses, up until now, have felt a little gimmicky, just because they’ve been very hard to pull off. We liked the RayNeo Air 2 late last year, but Google’s own attempt at smart glasses was taken off the market just a few months before that. If all the recent patents are anything to go off, Apple’s smart glasses may just be the push AR glasses need to work in the mainstream. 

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James Bentley

James is a staff writer and general Jack of all trades at iMore. With news, features, reviews, and guides under his belt, he has always liked Apple for its unique branding and distinctive style. Originally buying a Macbook for music and video production, he has since gone on to join the Apple ecosystem with as many devices as he can fit on his person. 

With a degree in Law and Media and being a little too young to move onto the next step of his law career, James started writing from his bedroom about games, movies, tech, and anything else he could think of. Within months, this turned into a fully-fledged career as a freelance journalist. Before joining iMore, he was a staff writer at Gfinity and saw himself published at sites like TechRadar, NME, and Eurogamer. 

As his extensive portfolio implies, James was predominantly a games journalist before joining iMore and brings with him a unique perspective on Apple itself. When not working, he is trying to catch up with the movies and albums of the year, as well as finally finishing the Yakuza series. If you like Midwest emo music or pretentious indie games that will make you cry, he’ll talk your ear off.