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Apple’s long-rumored mixed-reality headset, expected to be called Reality Pro, is slated to debut at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June, according to recent reports. However, it is still unclear when Apple Glasses will launch, and the newly announced Xiaomi Wireless AR Smart Glasses might shed some light on the delay.
While the technology needed for Apple Glasses is available today, the form factor is not up to Apple’s standards. Apple is rumored to be working on two AR/VR wearable devices: a mixed-reality headset and Apple Glasses, which is expected to be an augmented reality device that looks like traditional prescription eyeglasses.
The Reality Pro headset is expected to be a high-end device costing between $2,000 and $3,000 primarily aimed at developers and professional users. A more affordable version for consumers is expected to follow later.
Apple Glasses, on the other hand, is a different concept. The wearable is expected to look like conventional eyeglasses and allow users to overlay augmented reality content like Apple Maps directions and notifications.
Earlier this year, a report suggested that the Apple Glasses project had been postponed while the company focuses on the second-generation headset. However, making a device that has all-day battery life, a form factor similar to prescription eyeglasses, and an affordable price point, is a hugely ambitious project. It’s one that will likely take many years to achieve, so it was never likely to follow the Apple Headset in quick succession.
Recently, Xiaomi announced its Wireless AR Smart Glasses Explorer Edition, which features Micro-OLED screens for each eye that produce full HD visuals at 1,200 nits of brightness. The glasses also have three forward-facing cameras to map the environment around the wearer. However, the glasses have a battery life of just 30 minutes and have an aesthetic that does not resemble traditional eyeglasses.
The Xiaomi glasses demonstrate why Apple is not ready to launch anything like this yet. While the technology is impressive, the form factor is not up to Apple’s standards, and the aesthetics leave something to be desired.