Slick Apple Glasses?

Author: Olaf Zanger, updated 11.02.2023

Slick Apple Glasses

Slick Apple Glasses

There is quite some attention for the VR world. We argue that Apple will cater to that niche only by passing bye.


There is quite some talk about Apple Glasses. Usually it comes with a rendering of full on VR-Glasses. Though Apple has quite a track record of sticking with formulas if they worked once. So let’s look at Apple Glasses from that perspective.  

Expectations towards Apple Glasses

Optical Glasses 

First of all Apple Glasses will not want to compete with the spot optical glasses take in. So they must offer this value. Considering the lenses must be optical, the technology may not be in the lenses. A half reflective coating may be acceptable, though not much more. 

Sun Glasses

Fortunately the author doesn’t need to use optical glasses, though no way could he would accept to have to take down Apple Glasses each time the sun comes out. So sun-glasses function is critical. One simple solution is a magnetic clip on for shades. There is also technology for self-shading light intelligent glasses [3]. The latter would be a great feature for a pro version.


There is soo much chatter about the Metaverse and VR. Facebook changed their name, though let’s face it Second Life was already there and went away again. We think those VR glasses are just cumbersome and certainly not made to spend a longer part of the week in them. It can be called a niche for now. Apple usually doesn’t address niches. The simple thing to do VR is to add magnetic black shades that block out the reality and keep you focused in your VR. VR can be a special, more simple use case versus AR.


Further those glasses must be as un-intrusive as possible. A Google Glasses-like camera is a no-go. That requirement will make Apple Glasses look like what they are first and foremost, glasses and sun-glasses.

Ear phones

Glasses have their temples at the ear-bone. That makes temples a natural place for an earphone replacement [4]. Such functionality is already catered for by AirPods. A complementary microphone can be found on the Apple Watch. Such functionality we expect therefore in a later version of Apple Glasses.  

Make Glasses Smart

Un-intruisiveness as killer feature

Actually, why would Apple make glasses smart in the first place? A phone must be taken out of the pocket and put in front of you. That way it is separating you from your communication partner. Glasses are just so much a better and more unintrusive place to put information than a phone. That alone is a hugh value for users. It will change how we experience computing.

On top "always-on" becomes a whole new meaning. It is basically the equivalent of an iPhone that is constantly in front of you with the camera on to scan the environment for objects where relevant data could be added. So "always-on" becomes "always-looking-on-it". 


And, hei, it is just such a nice new revenue stream. Apple Glasses will be complementary to the phone, the watch and the earphones for long. Glasses will not replace any of such devices for quite a while. 

Value add

Home screen data: We should expect Apple to bring core value add in their own Apps. Specific high value can be expected from any app that you look at repeatedly. Think "any complications on Apple Watch" and "any information you want on your home screen". 

HUD: Other relevant information is anything that you would want to see in a heads up display. Apple Maps will give overlay directions for all driving, cycling and walking. Apple Health and Fitness will provide respective information. 

Extended Health: Through the counting of your blinks you may get information about how fast your time currently goes or how much dopamine is in your blood etc. [2]

Object recognition 

Things: Apple currently grows their object recognition abilities in Photos. That should be expected to work in real time looking at anything from mushrooms to flowers to animals to buildings or products. Context relevant information will be key. 

People: Recognition will work for persons from your photos library and your contacts. This data is currently built up on the iPhone. Later it may also work for Facebook or Linkedin contacts. You will see the name and other time relevant information like the birthday, astro-sign, etc. 

Text translation: Foreign text in the environment will be real time translated. This alone will be an amazing value for any traveller.

Games: In the private realm AR will be specifically interesting for gamified experiences like tour guides etc. 

Shopping: Furniture shops will allow you to see a product directly in the respective room. Apparel, you want to check out will be visible on others or on yourself looking at a mirror. 

Lifecycle data: Any sort of handbook will finally be interactive. Business Apps will be also specifically helpful for process information and maintenance work of all sorts. 

Advertisement: Looking at advertisements in the environment will offer to dive into immersive experiences. Shazam, owned by Apple, has such stuff available [1]

Functionality and Architecture 

Reduced to the MVP

Minimum device: With Apple Watch it was shown nicely how to reduce a device to the max, out came a minimum viable product (MVP). Activity that needs computing power like App transfer, routing, connectivity and notifications is done on the iPhone. That way the needed compute power and battery size on the smart device is much smaller. That is a known formula and should be repeated. Apple Glasses should be expected to also be highly dependent on the Apple iPhone for real time object recognition. The microphone of the other devices will be complementary for for Siri input.  

Place for tech: The needed technology on device should expect to be in other places than the lenses or the frame. e.g. in the temples allowing space for design of the glasses frame and the lenses. 

Framework and chip: The AR-Framework has been available since quite some time. A Glasses specific chip line should be expected. 


Design partnerships: Apple is a premium brand. Therefore a high class design should be expected. Apple likes partnerships where it fits. Here it can work with designer brands on different price levels like Bogner, Ray Ban, Dior, etc. While the temples can contain the tech come with certain Apple designs.

Battery charger: People that dependent on the optical features of the glasses will be in need to use them all day. The batteries may not hold that long. With exchangeable batteries, e.g. on the back part of the temples, one set can be in a AirPod like pack while the other is in use. 

Store: How will such Apple Smart Glasses be sold? In preparation to the Apple Watch Apple Stores got their todays table-layouts. It is very likely that Apple Glasses will be sold just in the same stylish way. The optician work may happen on RSVP behind the curtains or by accredited opticians off premise.

Train App AI: The Mac Studio and Mac Pro AI will be the fitting systems to train AI models for specific object recognition for business applications. 

Less intrusive input, deeper integration 

For a deeper, less intrusive integration of AI helpers chatGPT-a-like, Apple Glasses will provide an output method that is less visible. 

A non-intrusive option on the input side of things will be eye movement replacing mouse or finger movement. A more capable non intrusive input method will come with neuralink. 

Action points

What you can do? 


Apple Smart Glasses will come. Be prepared to see something very different from the average VR set and very much like optical glasses. If Apple is cheeky, they put two cameras in and train 3D-AI object recognition. That will also pretrain an Apple humanoid robot AI. 

Be prepared to see the next killerapp in Smart Glasses + AGI.


[1] Apple bought the tech through their acquisition of Shazam. 

[2] Huberman Lab [01:10:50]

[3] Transitions: Transitions® Lenses - Light Intelligent GlassesAd·

[4] Bose: