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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

Augmented reality could be the "next big thing" for Apple, according to the latest research from UBS analyst Steven Milunovich.

Milunovich believes that Apple could equip the iPad and iPhone with AR-enabled hardware such as sensors, 3D cameras, and custom chipsets over the next two to three years.

He speculates the iPhone 8, for example, could have "moderate 3D mapping using stereoscopic vision" based on a technology called Simultaneous Localization and Mapping.

An excerpt from his research note obtained by MacRumors:
SLAM solves the chicken and egg problem of mapping a space without prior knowledge. The device starts from one angle and collects points of data. As the device moves, it observes how objects shift and begins to fuse data to create an environment. As the 3D map is forming, the device begins to understand its own positon in the context of the environment it is trying to map.

SLAM underlies most of the advanced AR technologies available today and will likely be critical in the future. In 2015, Apple bought software company Metaio, which had one of the most advanced SLAM-based AR engines available at the time. The company has been silent since being acquired, but according to our industry checks it's likely the core team has remained and the IP could play a key role in Apple's strategy.
Milunovich, citing "some industry sources," added "there may be over 1,000 engineers in Israel working on projects that could be related to AR," but he expects Apple to slowly roll out augmented reality features until the technology becomes more mainstream and "reaches a level of maturity suitable for Apple's brand."

Perhaps related, iPhone 8 development is said to be ongoing at Apple's offices in Israel. Earlier this month, Apple acquired Israeli startup RealFace, a cybersecurity and machine learning firm specializing in facial recognition technology. And in November 2013, Apple acquired Israeli 3D sensor company PrimeSense.

Milunovich said that because new technologies must fit within and grow the Apple ecosystem, the company will likely release an augmented reality SDK that is tightly integrated with iOS.

Beyond the next two to three years, Milunovich thinks an additional AR-enabled hardware device is possible, citing tech evangelist Robert Scoble's belief that Apple will launch a pair of smart glasses in partnership with German optics company Carl Zeiss. The report said the glasses could launch as early as 2017.

In November 2016, Bloomberg likewise reported about Apple working on a pair of smart glasses that would connect wirelessly to the iPhone and display "images and other information" to the wearer.

Scoble recently told MacRumors that Apple is "readying a three-ounce pair of glasses that pair with the iPhone 8 for mixed reality." He insists that "mixed reality," which he refers to as "next-generation augmented reality," will be key to Apple's future products. Treat this info with a proverbial grain of salt for now.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has repeatedly expressed his interest in augmented reality. He recently said AR is "a big idea like the smartphone," but noted "there are things to discover before that technology is good enough for the mainstream." In the past, he said AR is "profound" and should "amplify" human contact.

Article Link: Apple Exploring AR in Israel as Robert Scoble Insists 'Mixed Reality' Glasses Coming This Year


macrumors 68000
Dec 21, 2001
Glasses that tell you what you shouldn't be looking at. I really want be thin.


macrumors 68020
Nov 23, 2014

So we will be able to point our iPhone 8s at a Big Mac and have it show us an overlay of how many calories are in it?

No thanks.


macrumors 6502a
Sep 10, 2007
Assuming the glasses are decent look and not huge, this could be a turning point in AR. Hololens is really cool idea but it's a self contained computer. Google Glass was a cool idea but was dorky looking and hard to use since it was mostly self contained.
It true set of glasses that is control by the iPhone and projects into you field of view only stuff selected by your iPhone would be amazing.


macrumors member
Feb 2, 2013
Scoble just wants to take a shower with Apple AR.

I, for one, welcome our new Artificial Reality overlords.



macrumors 65816
Jun 26, 2007
Scoble also predicted apple will release a see thru phone this year... yea - right
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macrumors 68020
Jun 13, 2016
They are definitely testing it, but it would be hard to pull off. It would need to have amazing, reliable features, good battery life, and an attractive price. But this could be more attractive than the Watch as its more futuristic, although at the same time glasses are a hard smart product to sell (as Tim Cook said himself).


macrumors G3
Sep 15, 2013
But what about those of us who already wear glasses to see? If Apple is doing this I'm assuming they will take that into account.


macrumors 6502a
Jan 11, 2007
Everyone wants Apple to release another revolutionary product, but I'm expecting that such a product will actually be a radical reimagining of the iPhone that manages to reinvent the product category yet again. I don't know what it will look like or what capabilities it will have, it's just an idea that makes sense to me.


macrumors member
Sep 9, 2016
Woodstock, NY
Glasses that tell you what you shouldn't be looking at. I really want be thin.
There is not way Apple wastes their time on Glasses. The idea is a failure and would be a flop. AR will take on a big roll in the iPhone that is a given.


macrumors regular
Jun 12, 2004
The real question being, "Why does anyone ever listen to Robert Scoble?"


macrumors newbie
Sep 5, 2014
If you doubt Apple in terms of having horsepower to drive AR/MR graphics, there's a strong chance it'll run on foveated rendering. There's a lot of interest in this area right now with companies like Magic Leap, Fove and Eyefluence [now Google]. Apple could develop their own version through Primesense. This stuff isn't pie in the sky. :)


macrumors G4
Oct 24, 2014
AR the next big thing? Welcome to 2013. The next big thing is actually VR which is a superset of AR.

Forward to 5:00


macrumors newbie
Feb 28, 2017
AR glasses. Another iteration of something that is a solution in search of a consumer problem.

MR(AR) will change the world forever. Smartphones will be not much in future when compared.
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