Well, well, well... It has been a while since our latest Blog post about the HoloLens FOV came out, and quite some things have changed. Some of you approached us, asking if we could provide our blog posts in English so that we can be heard and understood in more countries. Here we go, Ladies and Gentlemen:
The bad news first:
It is going to take some time until Apples AR is going to hit the market. Just to make things clear: Apple's CEO and mastermind Tim Cook said the technology for consumer-ready HMDs is not there yet, but Apple is planning to get to that point by the year 2020. To reach the ambitious goal the worlds most known tech company is slowly but continuously building its ecosystem to prepare the world for the moment their Augmented Reality glasses are ready.
With the launch of iOS11 on the 19th September this year Apple released its first AR platform, ARKit. Within a day Apple managed to bring first AR experiences to a whopping 380 Million iPhones, a number that is going to increase to half a billion until the end of this year. So as we know it from the giant from Cupertino, they are not the first one to release something but as soon as it is ready, it's hitting the market big time.
ARKit was the first significant and published result from a team that has been working on AR for a couple of years already. It operates under the codename T288 and is led by Mike Rockwell, who was a leading engineer at Dolby Labs. T288 has grown to a several hundred engineers, all working on hardware and software solutions, building the future of Augmented Reality. Whereas ARKit is a significant first step in the direction of a mass-market AR, the enormous challenge will be to create standalone AR glasses. Therefore Apple is developing its own chipset and immersive operating system, internally called rOS. For testing purposes, the team uses modified versions of the HTC Vive and Gear VR with an iPhone screen although these devices are for internal development only.
As we made clear in the beginning, it is going to take a while until we see a device from Apple. The next "big thing" we can expect is a second version of ARKit, launching 2018. We are excited about it, and of course, we at hololux will be one of the first to try it out, as we always do when new immersive technologies are released.
New displays and Laser AR
Earlier this month, CNBC reported about a partnership between Quanta and Lumus. Well, what does that have to do with Apple, you think? Possibly a lot. Quanta is a big supplier of hardware, providing most components for the Apple Watch. Lumus, on the other hand, is a display company that has been focusing on AR for quite a while now. Founded in Israel about 17 years ago they have filed a lot of patents, many focusing on Augmented Reality.
With the partnership, Quanta laid out a plan to move towards AR, taking huge steps. If Apple is involved at this point already is unclear. The tech giant just commented that anything that is going to hit the market soon is not ready to fulfill Apple's high standards. Apparently, a connection is denied here which does not make it less likely something is happening behind the scenes.
Another report of Bloomberg Technology is talking about a revised system of the TrueDepth sensors which we know from the iPhone X. "The planned rear-facing sensor would instead use a time-of-flight approach that calculates the time it takes for a laser to bounce off surrounding objects to create a three-dimensional picture of the environment" (Bloomberg). The technology is said to be used in the year 2019th edition of the iPhone, and it is a fascinating and new approach.
To sum up: It is going to take a while until we see Augmented Reality glasses with the worlds most known fruit symbol on it. But Apple is pushing it because it forecasts AR will be as much of a world-changer as the smartphone itself. And we all know what happened when the guys from Cupertino released their first Smartphone, don't we?
For all those who are a little bit impatient, check out the news at Magic Leap. Since years we were waiting for anything, and now they finally released something tangible. As soon as we are holding one of the devkits in our hands, we will deliver a detailed report.
Until then enjoy the last days of this exciting year and have great holidays! See you in 2018 with more exciting topics, technologies and realities to come.