The focus on augmented reality at Apple has so far been limited to the iPhone and the iPad. But if we are to believe some of the most trusted analysts in the industry, we’ll likely see some sort of AR or VR wearable from the company later this year.
But what does that look like? Well, designer Dominik Hofacker has a few ideas, and they’re so good they’re worth investigating.
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Hofacker, who recently interned at Facebook Reality Labs in Seattle, put together a concept video presentation that begins when the user dons a pair of concept Apple AR smartglasses and then shows the user interacting with a full virtual operating system above their real desk.
The fictional operating system is called macOS Reality and it looks incredibly slick, just as you’d expect from Apple. When starting the system, the environment must be scanned first, as is common with ARKit-powered experiences delivered through the iPhone.
Once scanning is complete, another presentation screen walks the user through how to interact with the virtual interface using pinch gestures reminiscent of the gestures common with the first HoloLens.
In addition to the pinch and touch gestures in the air, the concept design also plays with the idea of a virtual trackpad placed as a flat virtual square in the same place where a real hardware trackpad could be.
The most interesting part of the concept design video occurs when the user scrolls through a web page and then brings out a piece of 3D content (a dinosaur) that can be manipulated separately from the floating interface.
This kind of interaction is already possible in AR thanks to a new feature in Google Search, but you can imagine seeing this interaction in AR through a few Apple smartglasses.
The macOS Reality concept also includes a pair of virtual hands that are supposedly meant to represent real hands. On the wrist of one of those virtual hands is a control band that resembles that of the virtual hands in the Oculus VR home environment.
On the band are controls for things like Music and Calendar, which are normally found in the new slide-out drawer on the right in the interface for macOS Big Sur.
Will 2021 actually deliver a few Apple Glass smartglasses? Only time will tell, but if the operating system is anything like this concept design, Apple AR smartglasses would make a much easier wearable sale for new users than the expensive new AirPods Max or even the Apple Watch before it.