Every techie wants in on the latest, cutting-edge advancements, and smartphones are not the wave of the future, in anyone’s reality.
But “augmented reality (AR),” or mixed reality, may very well be the next big thing and the eyes of the tech world are on Apple to see whether the company can win the market again, as it did with the iPhone.
AR usually includes a computer mask, through which the customer experiences the technology.
While virtual reality buries the user in its world, AR brings much more to the table with availability to see text and images on top of reality.
And which company is believed to have the inside track to success?
Industry experts think Apple, which has been prototyping headsets for years, could have them available as early as next year.
Bloomberg last month suggested Apple’s first AR product could be be a battery-powered headset primarily designed for virtual reality, costing thousands of dollars, but with on-board cameras to enable augmented reality as well.
A quick breakdown of others in the race, per CNBC.com:
Microsoft announced its augmented reality headset, Hololens, in 2015, and released the first version in 2016. It’s now on its second version, which costs $3,500. It’s a niche device targeted for business sales.
Facebook announced it will begin using Project Aria research glasses to collect video, audio, eye-tracking and location data from public spaces to inform its development of smart glasses. CEO Mark Zuckerberg said last year he forecasts “breakthrough augmented reality glasses that will redefine our relationship with technology” in the 2020s.
Amazon has the least public enthusiasm about augmented reality technology, but it does sell a pair of smart glasses called Echo Frames. These don’t even have a display. Instead, the user interacts entirely through Alexa, Amazon’s voice assistant.