According to a new The Information report, Foxconn Technology has taken Apple’s “semitransparent” AR lenses into “trial production”.
Foxconn Technology is Apple’s partner in iPhone production and Apple’s augmented reality development efforts. The Information reports that the technology company has moved Apple’s AR lenses from the prototype phase into the trial production of the component which is key to the realization of Apple’s AR efforts. Two reports by The Information and Bloomberg over the past few months have attempted to zero in on Apple’s VR and AR plans.
It is widely believed that Apple is still a long way from shipping a product that could compete with Facebook’s Oculus Quest, currently the only the virtual reality headset geared for home use.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has also made comments in the past to the effect that he sees a massive Augmented Reality opportunity. However, Apple still faces massive technical challenges that it will have to surmount before it can ship slimmer and lightweight Augmented Reality glasses that can be used outside the house to superimpose digital objects on the user’s real-world view. Virtual reality headsets laden with multiple cameras can also be used to provide a passthrough that a person wearing a headset can use to see the environment around them thereby providing users some kind of AR-in-VR mode. This passthrough functionality is already available in Oculus Quest, Windows Mixed Reality headsets and the Valve Index and enables wearers to see the real-world environment via an otherwise opaque display.
There is also the Microsoft HoloLens which is a standalone AR/mixed reality headset but one with a very bulky form factor. HoloLens has also faced certain issues with its display technology.
As Apple is yet to divulge any information on its AR hardware development efforts, it isn’t clear yet what kind of device the AR lens its Foxconn partner is developing are meant for. It is also unclear when Apple will be shipping this unknown device to consumers.