Apple has long been rumored to be working on an augmented reality headset, and a newly published Apple patent may give us a better look at what that headset could end up looking like.
The patent was filed by Apple in March, and gives details about the tech that may power the headset. In fact, according to the patent, instead of using a display to show off information, the glasses may make use of a “reflective holographic combiner” to display an image. In other words, the headset will reflect an image off the lens of the glasses, working kind of like a projector.
The tech would also make use of a light engine that could consist of a few different types of projection technology, including laser diodes, LEDs, and more. The tech would also provide high-resolution images for wherever the user is looking, while also offering a lower-resolution image for other areas where the user isn’t focused on.
This specific patent also focuses on “accommodation-convergence mismatch problems,” which is an issue where an image is overlaid on an environment without taking into account depth of field. This can create a range of issues, including eyestrain and nausea — but the tech in the patent helps eliminate these issues. How? Well, by generating an image that appears to look further away from the eye than it actually is.
Of course, it makes sense that Apple would want to focus on creating tech that doesn’t cause issues like eyestrain and nausea. An augmented reality headset could be Apple’s next major new product — and it wants to get it right. Still, it could be some time before an Apple augmented reality headset could get released to the public. Apple may have been working on the tech for some time, but most rumors and analysts suggest the tech won’t be released until at least next year, and possibly later.
When it does launch, the headset is expected to connect to the iPhone, similar to how the Apple Watch did when it was first released — and still does in many ways. Once it is released, the headset could jump-start what many expect to be a new major wave in technology.