Apple’s love for augmented reality has grown stronger in recent years. It’s no secret that the Cupertino giant sees AR as integral to its future products. We know, based on recent rumours, that the upcoming iPhone 8 will get a bunch of AR features. There have also been reports that Apple is exploring AR-based wearable glasses. Now, we may have just found a slight hint that the AR glasses might actually be true.
Some Apple employees have mistakenly received a safety report by an Environment Health and Safety contractor that suggests a prototype unit has been causing eye strain for testers, according to Gizmodo, which has managed to acquire one of the copies.
The report has includes about 70 different incidents ranging from workplace injuries to work-related stress. Interestingly, one report on February 21 involved a prototype unit at Apple’s De Anza office in Cupertino. “After BT4 user study, user advised study lead, that she experienced discomfort in her eye and said she was able to see the laser flash at several points during the study. Study lead referred her to optometrist and secured prototype unit for analysis,” the report read.
Another report involved an employee working at Apple’s Vallco Parkway office in Cupertino, who reported eye pain on March 2. “Employee reported eye pain after working with new prototype, thought it may be associated with use. He noticed that the security seal on the magenta (outer) case had been broken and had thought the unit may have been tampered with.”
Of course, these reports are way too vague to conclude that they are related to Apple’s VR glasses. However, VR and AR have been known to cause symptoms like eye pain, nausea and dizziness and the prototype mentioned in these reports could allude to that. Apple CEO Tim Cook has already expressed his views on AR when he said it could be as big as the smartphone.
Despite the current favouritism towards virtual reality, which completely immerses you in a virtual world, Apple believes AR will be easier for people to accept as its a lot less intrusive. Augmented reality places overlays images and virtual things on the real world. The most popular example today in AR is perhaps Niantic’s smash hit Pokemon Go.
While the AR glasses could still be a few years away before we get to see something concrete, we can expect to get a taste of what Apple’s team has been up to in this hardware with the upcoming iPhone.