New York Times: Goodbye iPhone, hello Mixed Reality headset

Eventually, there will be a time when the iPhone no longer rings up the huge sales that Apple and its stockholders have become accustomed to. What will Apple’s next big thing be? For years there has been speculation that some sort of Augmented Reality glasses would replace Apple’s iconic smartphone to become the tech giant’s biggest seller. About five years ago, analyst Gene Munster even went so far as to say that Apple’s AR glasses will eventually be bigger than the iPhone.

Apple is prepping its “next big thing”

That might still turn out to be true, but Apple does have a product that it has been prepping for release before the so-called AR Apple Glass. This would be a mixed-reality VR/AR headset that would use both Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR). The former creates made-up environments that you can immerse yourself within.

Augmented Reality takes a real-life image and has an overlay showing data. A great example of AR in action is Google Map’s Live View available for AR walking directions. The rear camera provides you with a real-time look at the road and traffic ahead of you while the overlay contains arrows that tell you in which direction to walk and other icons point out famous places of interest that you’ll be walking near.

Today, The Gray Lady (as The New York Times is often called) wrote how Apple is preparing for its next big thing by lining up big-time directors to help create video content for the mixed reality headset that Apple plans on releasing next year. Based on renders, the headset has a design resembling ski goggles and the product was reportedly passed around the Apple boardroom in Cupertino.

Supposedly, the version of the headset that Apple will eventually release will be a standalone model that will not have to be tethered to an iPhone or a base station. At WWDC on Monday, Apple is expected to introduce tools that developers will use to make their apps compatible with the mixed reality headset. While the operating system for the product will reportedly be called rOS for reality operating system (a name that we’ve heard many years ago), the UI is said to offer hands-free navigation according to the Times, which reviewed several key documents related to the project.

Apple fans do not seem overjoyed by the company’s Mixed Reality headset

Apple fans do not seem terribly thrilled to be adding a mixed reality headset to the company’s enviable ecosystem. It might be that these users are waiting for the AR Apple Glass which is supposed to be similar to Google Glass. Personally, this writer always felt that the idea behind Google Glass and Apple Glass is to provide wearers with the same data and experience that smartphone users can receive on their phones, but delivered through their eyeglasses instead of a display.

That seems to be what Google had in mind with its Project Glass video which it released to the world on April 4th, 2012. Apple Glass is still a few years away and Apple might still be wondering what kind of reception such a device might bring it. You may recall that Google Glass users were accused of taking photos of subjects who did not know that they were being photographed which gave users of the device the unflattering nickname of “Glassholes.”

Carolina Milanesi, a technology analyst with tech researchers Creative Strategies, said, “This is the next frontier. For Apple, this is about a new computing experience and opportunity to engage consumers with a device and new experiences that build on what they’ve done with content.”

The big question is whether the public will feel that the iPhone experience can be replaced or improved by constantly wearing a headset or a pair of AR spectacles. Remember through, the headset is not expected to be released until next year giving you enough time to say goodbye to your iPhone.

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