About Those Apple AR Glasses

John Gruber, Daring Fireball:

I’m hard pressed to think of anything we do today on our phones that would be better using AR glasses. Anything. Apple may well be working on AR glasses, but if they are, the use cases are almost certainly new and different from those of the phone, and I would wager that such glasses would be like Apple Watch — a peripheral for your iPhone, not a replacement for it.

Upon first read, Gruber’s takedown of longtime Apple analyst Gene Munster made me think Gruber doesn’t see Apple AR glasses coming at all. Actually, I think he’s just refuting Munster’s assertion that ARKit is all about selling glasses at some point down the line:

ARKit is not laying the foundation for Apple’s future move into augmented reality. ARKit is Apple’s move into augmented reality.

Tech pundits made a fuss about Apple AirPods being the company’s first stepping stone towards a post-phone computing paradigm. With AirPods’ tiny mics and speakers in your ears, you can keep your iPhone tucked securely away and talk to it via Siri. Or you’ll soon be able to, once Siri gets better at, you know, stuff.

Throw an Apple Watch and, in a few years, Apple Glasses into the equation, and you won’t really need to look at your iPhone anymore. And once Apple Watch is powerful enough, you won’t even need to carry that phone around, either. Or so the story goes. This may or may not come to be, but if and when it does, it’ll be in support of a new way of computing that doesn’t necessarily look like what we do with our phones today.

This narrative makes enough sense, and a version of it may even take shape by 2020 or so. But Gruber’s point is not to be overlooked: ARKit is here, right now, and iPhone-based Augmented Reality is a thing. It’s going to be a really big thing, too.

In fact, I’d bet AR makes a big splash right around Christmas shopping season this year.