Apple is keeping a big secret about new products – it has not yet publicly confirmed that the electronics company is working on networked glasses. However, the signs of an early market launch are becoming more pronounced: a media report suggests that the Group has secured several names with the term “reality”, in English: reality, under trademark law.
In several major jurisdictions, including the US, the EU and the UK, “Reality One”, “Reality Pro” and “Reality Processor” have been registered as trademarks, the Bloomberg news agency reported on Sunday.
The applications were not made by Apple itself, but by an unknown company called Immersive Health Solutions. However, the use of such indirect constructs corresponds to the usual procedure of the iPhone manufacturer.
The applications have not yet been accepted, so there is no guarantee that Apple will use these names for future products, Bloomberg emphasizes. However, several indications have previously become public that a new operating system for the device category should be called “Reality OS”. The group itself, as usual, did not comment on the report.
The names are likely to allude to what experts call augmented reality (AR) or extended reality (XR), in English: augmented reality. This refers to technology that supplements the image of the real environment with virtual information – for example, when a mechanic is shown a manual in the field of view using glasses. In virtual reality (VR), on the other hand, the user is transferred to a completely virtual world via a portable construct.
Vague hints from CEO Cook
The fact that Apple is working on such technologies is considered obvious in the industry. CEO Cook repeatedly emphasizes how enthusiastic he is about augmented reality. In a recent interview with the Chinese newspaper “China Daily”, he said that – as with any technology – it is central to put people at the center: “That’s what we focus on every day.“
Cook did not provide details. This is part of a communication strategy: management is generally silent about products that are under development. This fuels the speculation of the fans and the media, which results in free reporting and stimulates the imagination of the shareholders.
Patent applications, however, provide an insight into the work of the development department. For example, Apple has developed air cooling for screens in headsets, as well as an input device for fingers and object recognition for objects.
In addition, the Group has acquired important components and technologies through acquisitions. Also in Germany, where the augmented reality specialist Metaio agreed to a takeover in 2015, to the surprise of the customers.
The electronics manufacturer also provides software developers with tools to develop AR applications for the iPhone, for example for the three-dimensional capture of rooms or the combination of real images with digital content. These components should also be valuable for the development of software for smart glasses.
Expected announcement next year
Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman and analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who are considered well-connected at Apple and around the group, expect a product announcement next year. The management has already demonstrated the device in the Board of Directors, according to the news agency.
If this happens, the electronics manufacturer could help the product category achieve a breakthrough. So far, glasses for augmented and virtual reality are a niche product, the market researcher CCS Insight expects sales of only 14.3 million devices for 2022. However, in view of the introduction of several smart glasses, the next twelve months are a “very important period” for the market.
The biggest ambitions are currently harbored by Meta, the parent company of Facebook, which has renamed itself specifically: the new name alludes to the science fiction concept of the metaverse, i.e. a three-dimensional virtual world. A meaningful brand is not only important to Apple.