What Will We Actually Do With Apple’s AR Glasses?
Apple’s augmented reality glasses have long been a topic of conversation in tech circles, and have led to seemingly innumerable rumors – some outlandish and others quite possibly accurate. Basically, we don’t know very much about the details of any such device. When a prominent publication is citing the hiring of a neuroscientist as evidence of glasses development, it’s fair to say we’re reaching for detail and confirmation (which isn’t to say that hypothesis is necessarily inaccurate). However, going by the old saying that where there’s smoke there’s fire, it’s also fair to say that there’s been an inordinate amount of smoke surrounding the idea of Apple AR glasses.
Rather than debating purely hypothetical details about specs, capabilities, and appearance, however, it might be better to ask what we’ll actually do with Apple AR glasses if and when they arrive. In all likelihood the always-innovative company will have a few ideas up its sleeve that we don’t see coming, such that AR glasses will have applications we never really thought of. Even so, we have a few educated guesses.
Message display is probably the main thing we know is coming in AR glasses because to some degree we’ve already seen it. This was one of the main ideas behind “smart glasses” before AR really took off, and more recently some smaller AR glasses projects have put forth the same general idea. A product called GlassUp that’s appeared on Indiegogo advertised lenses that could display any info selected by the relevant apps on your phone, which gives you an idea of the breadth of this concept. In other words, it’s not just about flashing text messages across your screen. We may also be able to see driving directions in real time, see labels of buildings, landmarks, or athletes we’re looking at, or even watch entertainment with subtitles.
Advanced AR Gaming
We’re constantly being told at this point that AR has implications far and wide beyond gaming. This is true, but it’s also foolish to act like this isn’t at least in part a gaming technology. Currently, AR gaming on mobile devices is very cool, but somewhat impractical. It requires that we hold our phones in very specific positions so that we can look through them at our surroundings coupled with digital animations. AR glasses will completely revolutionize this process to provide a more advanced, more convenient form of the same gaming. We’ll simply be able to turn our heads, rather than move our phones, and enjoy the same experience.
This is an interesting idea that is generating a little less discussion. Already however VR viewership for sporting contests is gaining steam. We’ve also seen a rise in virtual sports as a betting practice, effectively simulating artificial sports contests on small screens at a moment’s notice. Building on these recent developments, is it so much of a stretch to imagine the convenience and game-like nature of virtual sports coupled with the idea VR has introduced of viewing sports in an entirely new way? It may be that in time we can watch either virtual or real sports projected in real space – as if an NBA game or a horse race is taking place on your tabletop, if only you look at it through your AR glasses.
AR’s potential to disrupt retail is getting a ton of coverage. Indeed you can hardly Google AR or VR these days without reading about it. The idea is basically that AR can simulate items you might otherwise have to purchase and try out in person, whether that means looking at how a new lamp would look on your bedside table, projecting samples of new tiling on your kitchen floor, or seeing which watch or bracelet looks nicest on your wrist. As with AR gaming however this is a little unwieldy through a smartphone. Glasses will simply make it a nicer experience, and probably a more popular practice.
These aren’t quite as much fun to talk about, nor do they apply to basic everyday use. However, Inc put together a list of real uses for AR glasses that focused largely on business practices, and it’s true that these will comprise a lot of the general activity for AR glasses. It’s a broad category, but from hospital training to office and supply chain logistics, there will be a lot of efficiency-geared changes when AR glasses become the norm.