Apple Supplier Quanta Computer Teams Up With Lumus to Make Lenses for Augmented Reality Smart Glasses

Apple manufacturing partner Quanta Computer has teamed up with Israeli-based augmented reality company Lumus to manufacture lenses for smart glasses, reports Bloomberg.

Lumus designs displays for AR glasses and will use Quanta for manufacturing purposes. In an interview with Bloomberg, Lumus CEO Ari Grobman said Quanta, which led a $45 million investment in Lumus in 2016, will also be able to produce AR lenses for other tech companies.

Totem headset from VRvana, the virtual reality company Apple recently purchased

The partnership will result in more affordable lenses for wearable augmented reality products, lowering the overall cost for future products. "Quanta has suggested that full AR headsets would be priced for less than the cost of a high-end cell phone. That's a big deal," Grobman told Bloomberg.

It's not clear if Quanta and Lumus are working with Apple on a future augmented reality headset or smart glasses, but it is a possibility as rumors suggest Apple has a wearable augmented reality product in the works.

The latest rumors indicate Apple is developing an AR headset with a dedicated display, a built-in processor, and a reality operating system called "rOS." Apple is still in the prototyping phase and is exploring different input methods like touch panels, voice activation, head gestures, and more, and it is exploring the types of applications where such a product could be used.

Apple has an aggressive timeline for its augmented reality headset and is aiming to finish development by 2019 ahead of a 2020 release, but there could be delays and changes to the product as work continues.

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Apple Bought Augmented Reality Headset Company Vrvana

Apple recently purchased Vrvana, a company that developed an augmented reality headset called Totem, reports TechCrunch.

Two sources with knowledge of the deal confirmed the acquisition, but Apple declined to comment and did not provide its usual acquisition statement. TechCrunch says Apple did not deny the story, though, and several employees who were previously with Vrvana are now with Apple.


Apple is said to have paid $30 million for Vrvana, and the deal may have taken place this summer. Vrvana's website is still up and running, but social media accounts ceased updates in August.

Vrvana developed a sort of mixed reality headset called Totem, which was never released. It was designed to combine both augmented and virtual reality technologies in a single headset, merging full VR capabilities with pass-through cameras to enable screen-based augmented reality features.

Essentially, Totem used a set of cameras to project real world images into its built-in 1440p OLED display, a somewhat unique approach that set it apart from competing products like Microsoft's HoloLens, which uses a transparent display to combine virtual and augmented reality. With Totem's approach, much richer virtual experiences were available, as full VR objects could be combined with a real-world view.

The built-in cameras were used to track the device's position in space, and additional infrared cameras were used to detect a user's hands. Several media sites were able to check out the Totem last year, and it received largely positive reviews.

Totem's technology could be built into a future Apple device, as multiple rumors suggest Apple is working on some kind of augmented reality headset or smart glasses product.

Apple is said to be building an AR headset that features a dedicated display, a built-in processor, and a new "rOS" operating system. The company is aiming to finish work on its augmented reality headset by 2019, and a finished product could be ready to ship as soon as 2020, should the project progress on schedule.

While Apple has acquired other augmented reality companies like Metaio, Faceshift, Flyby Media, and SensoMotoric Instruments, this is the first dedicated AR/VR headset hardware company Apple has purchased, signaling a deep interest in developing some kind of AR/VR wearable device.

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Supply Chain Hints at Apple Releasing Augmented Reality Headset No Later Than 2019

Taiwanese manufacturer Quanta Computer, a primary assembler of the Apple Watch, has revealed that it is working on an augmented reality product for an undisclosed company that some industry observers believe is Apple.

Google Glass Enterprise Edition

Quanta's vice chairman C.C. Leung suggested the device will be a "headset-like gadget with a fully transparent lens that allows users to see through and interact with the environment," according to Nikkei Asian Review.

"Currently, we see such a device available in the market no later than the year 2019," he told reporters after the company's earnings conference.

Leung noted that if an augmented reality device could carry a price tag lower than $1,000, it would likely become a hit in the market, although it is unlikely he has any knowledge of Apple's pricing plans if they even exist yet.

Quanta is the second Apple supplier to mention involvement with an augmented reality product after fellow Taiwanese company Catcher Technology said it has been tapped to supply parts for an undisclosed wearable device.

Bloomberg was among the first to report on Apple's work on an augmented reality headset. It said Apple aims to have the technology ready by 2019, and could ship a finished product as early as 2020, which is a slightly longer timeline.

The headset's custom operating system, based on iOS, is reportedly dubbed "rOS" for "reality operating system."

Apple hasn't finalized how users will control the headset and launch apps, but it is investigating touchscreens, Siri voice activation, and head gestures as it creates prototypes, the report said.

Apple CEO Tim Cook alluded to any headset being at least a few years away during a recent interview about augmented reality.

"Today I can tell you that the technology itself doesn't exist to do that in a quality way," Cook said. "We don't give a rats about being first, we want to be best in creating people's experiences. Something that you would see out in the market any time soon would not be something that any of us would be satisfied with."

Cook has repeatedly expressed a "profound interest" in augmented reality, which he favors over virtual reality. Apple's ARKit platform on iOS 11 enables developers to integrate augmented reality features into iPhone and iPad apps, potentially laying the foundation for what's to come.

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Apple May Launch Augmented Reality Headset With Custom ‘rOS’ Operating System by 2020

Apple is ramping up development of an augmented reality headset that will have its own display and run on a new chip and operating system, according to well-connected Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman.

A fanciful mockup of digital glasses via TechAcute

Apple aims to have technology ready for the headset by 2019, and could ship a product as early as 2020, the report claims. But the development timeline is said to be "very aggressive" and could still change.

The headset's custom operating system, based on iOS, is reportedly dubbed "rOS" for "reality operating system."
Just as tvOS powers the Apple TV, macOS runs on Macs and watchOS runs on Apple Watches, "rOS" will power Apple’s AR headset. Geoff Stahl, formerly a software manager for games and graphics at Apple, is one of the directors of the "rOS" software group.
Apple hasn't finalized how users will control the headset and launch apps, but it is investigating touchscreens, Siri voice activation, and head gestures as it creates prototypes, according to the report.
Engineers are prototyping a range of applications, from mapping and texting to more advanced features including virtual meeting rooms and 360-degree video playback. The company has discussed pairing the headset with its own version of the App Store, where users would be able to download content, just as they do with the iPhone, Watch, Apple TV and Mac.
Apple software engineers are said to be using HTC Vive headsets, while working on a device similar to an Oculus Gear VR headset that uses an iPhone's display and other hardware, both for internal testing purposes only.

An augmented reality headset is one of several hardware and software projects that a team of Apple software engineers are supposedly working on under the umbrella code name of "T288" in Cupertino and Sunnyvale.

The same team was behind ARKit, which provides developers with tools to create augmented reality apps for iPhones and iPads.

Gurman previously reported that Apple was considering a pair of smart glasses that would connect wirelessly to an iPhone, much like the Apple Watch, and display "images and other information" to the wearer.

The Financial Times has also reported about Apple experimenting with "several different kinds" of wearable augmented reality prototypes, as it tries to figure out the "most compelling application" for a headset.

Apple CEO Tim Cook alluded to any headset being at least a few years away during a recent interview about augmented reality.

"Today I can tell you that the technology itself doesn't exist to do that in a quality way," Cook said. "We don't give a rats about being first, we want to be best in creating people's experiences. Something that you would see out in the market any time soon would not be something that any of us would be satisfied with."

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Apple Glasses Rumors Resurface as iPhone Supplier Tapped to Make Parts for Augmented Reality Product

Catcher Technology, a Taiwanese company that manufacturers metal casings for Apple products like iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks, will make parts for an augmented reality product, according to Nikkei Asian Review.

Apple Glasses concept via Gadgets Arena

Catcher chairman Allen Horng reportedly said augmented reality products "need to look good" and "be light enough to wear."
"Based on what we have learned, [new AR products] need to look good and be light enough to wear ... that makes the casings for such device very complicated to manufacture and there are still a lot of challenges to overcome currently," Catcher Chairman Allen Horng told analysts and reporters in an earnings conference on Tuesday.
Horng would not disclose which company was behind the augmented reality product, but given the comments and Catcher's relationship with Apple, the report has reignited speculation about so-called Apple Glasses.

Apple is reportedly exploring digital glasses that would connect wirelessly to iPhones and "show images and other information in the wearer's field of vision." The company supposedly has prototyped "several different kinds" of wearable augmented reality products, but a launch is still far away.

Apple CEO Tim Cook, who has repeatedly expressed a "profound interest" in augmented reality, recently said "the technology itself doesn't exist" to make the glasses "in a quality way." He said there are "huge challenges" with "the display technology required, as well as putting enough stuff around your face."

Jeff Pu, an analyst at Taipei-based Yuanta Investment Consulting, believes Apple's glasses will go on sale as soon as the end of 2019. Earlier reports mentioned 2018 as a possible timeframe, but that sounds increasingly unlikely.

Today's report marks the second time Catcher Technology has surfaced in the Apple rumor mill this week. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo on Monday said the company will supply Apple with "more complex" metal frames for iPhones launching in 2018 for the purpose of improving cellular signal and data transmission.

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Tim Cook on Augmented Reality: ‘What It Will Be, What It Can Be, I Think It’s Profound’

With Apple focusing heavily on augmented reality in iOS 11 through ARKit, Apple CEO Tim Cook received several questions about AR during today's fourth quarter earnings call. He was, of course, questioned about augmented reality hardware, a question he dodged by explaining that Apple's all about the experience.

In terms of monetization of AR/VR, we focus first and foremost on customer experience. We're all about making sure the customer experience is great. We think if we get the experience right, revenue and profits will follow. We're very much focused on the experience right now.
On augmented reality in general, Cook said there are "fantastic" people at Apple who are working on incredible things, and that Apple is in a "unique position" to lead when it comes to augmented reality.
I view AR as profound. Not today, not the app you'll see on the App Store today, but what it will be, what it can be, I think it's profound, and I think Apple is in a really unique position to lead in this area.
Augmented reality "amplifies human performance instead of isolating humans," Cook explained. "It's a help for humanity, not an isolation kind of thing for humanity." He said the "very cool thing" about augmented reality apps is that they're "all over the place." There are more than 1,000 ARKit apps in the App Store now, across a wide range of categories like shopping, gaming, entertainment, and business.

"I see apps that make me want to go to K-12 again and repeat my schooling because it changes the game in the classroom," said Cook. "The real beauty is that [AR] is mainstream and, of course, Apple is the only company that could have brought this because it requires hardware/software integration." He went on to compare ARKit to the launch of the App Store in 2008 and its subsequent growth.
This is very much like in 2008 when we fired the gun in the App Store. That's what it feels like to me and I think it will just get bigger from here.
Though Cook focused heavily on software and Apple's existing augmented reality experiences during the call, rumors have suggested that Apple is exploring augmented reality hardware solutions that go beyond the iPhone, like a set of augmented reality smart glasses. Work on the smart glasses is said to be in the early stages, with many technical hurdles still to overcome, so a launch is not expected for quite some time.

The entirety of Apple's conference call is now available from Apple's website.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook: Technology Doesn’t Exist to do AR Smart Glasses ‘In a Quality Way’

Apple CEO Tim Cook recently sat down for a wide ranging interview with The Independent alongside several app developers where he discussed augmented reality in its current incarnation on the iPhone and provided a bit of insight into Apple's plans for future devices that could potentially take advantage of augmented reality, like smart glasses.

As is typical, Cook refused to comment on products Apple has in development, but when questioned about the topic, he said the technology to create a pair of augmented reality smart glasses "in a quality way" does not exist today.
"But today I can tell you the technology itself doesn't exist to do that in a quality way. The display technology required, as well as putting enough stuff around your face - there's huge challenges with that.

"The field of view, the quality of the display itself, it's not there yet."
Cook went on to say that Apple will only ship a product that's the best, reiterating that the company doesn't care about being first to new technology. "We want to be the best and give people a great experience," he said. "But now anything you would see on the market any time soon would not be something any of us would be satisfied with. Nor do I think the vast majority of people would be satisfied."

Google Glass augmented reality glasses

Rumors have suggested Apple is working on a pair of augmented reality smart glasses and has experimented with multiple prototypes, but based on both Cook's statement today and past rumors, a wearable Apple-branded augmented reality product is still a ways off.

Recent information has suggested augmented reality smart glasses are at least a year away or longer, with Apple aiming to figure out the "most compelling application" for an AR headset.

Though the technology does not exist today in Cook's opinion, he did provide some hope for a future AR wearable from Apple. "Most technology challenges can be solved, but it's a matter of how long," he said.

The rest of Cook's interview, which can be read over at The Independent and is well worth checking out, focuses heavily on ARKit and augmented reality. As he has done many times in the past, Cook said AR is huge, will be used by everyone, and will take off much like the App Store or multi-touch functionality.

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Nokia Refocuses on Digital Health Products in VR Market Rethink

Nokia on Tuesday announced that it is halting the development of its $45,000 Ozo virtual reality camera, citing "slower than expected development of the VR market" as the reason behind the company's rethink.

The news comes at the expense of 310 jobs in the U.S., the U.K., and Finland – the home of Nokia – as the company optimizes its investments in virtual reality and targets faster growth in digital health products and services instead.

In digital media, the slower-than-expected development of the VR market means that Nokia Technologies plans to reduce investments and focus more on technology licensing opportunities. The unit aims to halt development of further versions of the OZO VR camera and hardware, while maintaining commitments to existing customers.
Nokia acquired French health tracking company Withings in 2016 for an estimated $192 million, signaling the company's long-term investment in the consumer digital health and the Internet of Things sector. Withings completed its rebrand to the Nokia label in June of this year and simultaneously launched two new connected health products under the Nokia brand.

Nokia announced the professional-grade Ozo camera back in 2015, when it cost $60,000 price tag. The 360-degree 3D camera is capable of live streaming, live monitoring and automatic stitching. Disney, UEFA, Sony Pictures and other media companies bought Ozo camera units, and Nokia later dropped the price to $45,000, but sales clearly didn't warrant continued development.

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Samsung Debuts $499 Windows Mixed Reality Headset

At an event held in San Francisco this morning, Samsung and Microsoft announced the debut of the HMD Odyssey, a headset designed to work with the Windows Mixed Reality platform.

Priced at $499, the headset offers high-resolution dual 3.5-inch AMOLED displays with a 110-degree field of view for what Samsung says is the "most immersive Windows Mixed Reality experience." With AMOLED technology, the headset offers more vibrant colors and deeper blacks for more lifelike images, and there are built-in AKG headphones for 360 degree spatial sound.


The HMD Odyssey is equipped with a Six Degrees of Freedom sensor for "intuitive and natural movements," while the headset itself features an adjustable control wheel for a snug fit on the head and the two motion controllers enable movement in the virtual world.


Windows Mixed Reality, despite the name, is essentially Microsoft's virtual reality platform. Microsoft has teamed up with several PC makers like Acer, Dell, HP, and Lenovo to create a range of "Mixed Reality" headsets that work with the platform. Mixed Reality mixes augmented and virtual reality experiences to blend the real world with the digital world, but Windows Mixed Reality is a full virtual reality experience at the current time.


While Apple has delved into and embraced augmented reality with the release of ARKit in iOS 11, the company is also rumored to be exploring virtual reality concepts. There have been rumors of work on both a virtual reality headset and augmented reality smart glasses, but it's not yet clear if those products will ever make it beyond the prototyping stage.

Apple in macOS High Sierra is planning to support eGPUs and VR content creation through Metal 2 and partnerships with Valve, Unity, and Unreal, but beyond that, ARKit is the closest thing the company has to the Windows Mixed Reality platform, and there is no comparable product to the Samsung headset.

Samsung's Odyssey Mixed Reality Headset is priced at $499, and is available for pre-order starting today ahead of a November 6 launch. A range of other Mixed Reality headsets are also available from Microsoft at prices starting at $329.

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Tags: Samsung, Microsoft

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Amazon Reportedly Working on Smart Glasses With Integrated Alexa AI

Amazon is actively developing a pair of smart glasses with Alexa virtual assistant built in, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday.

Designed like a regular pair of spectacles, the device will enable Alexa to be invoked by the wearer at any time and at all places, the report said, citing people familiar with Amazon's plans.

The founder of Google Glass is said to be working on Amazon's Alexa smart glasses

The company is reportedly including a bone-conduction audio system in the specs so that the wearer can hear Alexa's voice without inserting headphones.

The founder of Google Glass, Babak Parviz, is said to have been working on the Alexa product since he was hired by Amazon in 2014. Earlier this year, Google re-introduced its Google Glass wearable headset after discontinuing production in 2016.

In addition, The Financial Times reports that Amazon is also working on a more conventional home security camera, and that one or both of these products may appear before the end of this year.

Previous reports have claimed that Amazon is working on a successor to its popular Echo connected smart speaker and plans to bring the device to market this year in time to compete with Apple's HomePod, which is set to launch this December.

According to rumors that first surfaced in 2016, Apple is also working on several different kinds of smart glasses, with the main application of bringing augmented reality experiences to the wearer.

Reports this year suggest Apple's glasses will connect wirelessly to the iPhone, much like the Apple Watch, and will display "images and other information to the wearer".

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Tags: Google Glass, Alexa

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