According to sources from Digitimes of Taiwan, Apple has stopped developing equipment to augment reality AR / VR. According to people close to the incident, the device development team was dissolved in May and initial members were transferred to other development departments.
Industry sources predict that Apple stopped developing AR glasses, due to the fact that current designs for AR / VR hardware cannot achieve the required level of compactness, but also requires connectivity. 5G network and some content is not mature enough. Apple has yet to respond to requests for comments from Digitimes.
The departure of the head of the development team
Companies in the supply chain related to Apple said that the company is adjusting its resources for R&D activities and the team developing the AR / VR wearing equipment has been dissolved and transferred to real estate development departments. other products. Earlier this year, it was reported that the self-driving car development group had been narrowed. A few days ago, the legendary designer of Jony Ive left to set up a new company. Now it is the department to develop equipment to wear AR / VR.
Previous rumors said Avi Bar-Zeev, one of the pioneering AR / VR experts, was the head of the AR glasses development department for Apple. However, the information posted on his LinkedIn page showed that he had left Apple since January this year.
Avi Bar-Zeev joined Apple in 2016 as the Senior Manager of AR, responsible for developing AR wearable devices. He used to work for Microsoft and other companies, notably he was co-creator of HoloLens glasses at Microsoft.
Avi Bar-Zeev, head of Apple's AR wearing equipment division, left the company in January.
Earlier, rumors of Apple developing AR / VR wearable devices from companies, such as Quanta, ZhengYi, Kecheng, were seen as companies in the supply chain of Apple AR / VR glasses. . Currently these companies do not respond to requests for comments.
In fact, not only is Quanta and Zhengyi, an existing partner of Apple Heshuo also actively seeking to get orders to assemble this product, they even provide product prototypes for Apple to try. experience. However, the development process is still in the testing phase and trial production in small quantities.
At this stage, Apple has not yet provided assembly plants with time and schedule. But with the company temporarily halting product development and limited impact on the supply chain of this product, it shows that the market for AR / VR devices is still in its infancy.
Whether this AR glass has the same fate as Apple's wireless charging dock, was killed when it was just a rumor.
Technology is not enough to provide an ideal experience
The suspension of hardware development plans for Apple AR / VR does not mean that they are not optimistic about the potential of AR / VR. However, the current time is still not appropriate at this stage. Apple may want to put its R&D resources into another product line that has a better chance of profitability.
This inference comes from Apple stopping this development process despite repeated submissions of patents related to AR technology applications.
At the WWDC 2017 event, Apple introduced the ARkit toolkit for iOS 11, which is considered a big step forward for Apple in the field of AR. At that time, CEO Tim Cook pointed out that AR will not isolate users from the outside world, like VR. He believes that AR content can become a part of the user's world and it has the same potential as smartphones, because AR is designed to be for everyone, just like a mobile phone.
However, Cook also said that Apple had no intention of creating its own AR device, instead bringing the AR experience into the iPhone. The main reason is because Apple technology can even produce products, but to achieve the ideal experience needed for AR glasses, current technology is not enough.
Industry sources believe that to bring the AR glass into reality, it must overcome a series of challenges in image processing, optical system design, as well as power supplies, heat sinks, … Even in the present, two years after Mr. Cook made his statement, these challenges are still very difficult to solve.
AR augmented reality glasses of Vivo.
Recently, some manufacturers have released their own AR glasses with a light weight, including China's Vivo and Nreal Light. The two companies' AR glasses put the calculations, and supply the battery to smartphones, to reduce weight and increase user convenience. Nreal Light's AR glasses only weigh 85g, so users can wear them for a long time.
AR glass developed by Nreal.
Besides, these AR / VR glasses also need content support. The number of relevant software developers is an important factor to determine whether the AR / VR market has matured.
Another problem is the connection line. AR will need wireless and wired connections to smartphones. In particular, low latency 5G network will bring the most ideal connection experience. However, 5G is still in the first stage of development, and it will not become popular before 2020. It seems that Apple does not have to rush to launch devices wearing AR / VR.
Refer to Digitimes