Jean-Louis Gassée: Apple Glasses, Apple Goggles

Some fantasies are too enticing to relinquish.”

From “The Fantastic Apple Glasses. Again.” posted Sunday as Gassée’s Monday Note:

When I started writing this note, I thought the Augmented Reality (AR) version of Apple Glasses was the more likely one to come to market — date unknown but distant because of the technical feats required and the social implications of an on-board camera. Nice to have, like many other products such as the putative but unrealistic Apple Car, but not on the horizon.

I’ve since changed my mind. Head-enveloping goggles that rely on PC computing and battery power are more likely, if only because of the form factor affordances flowing from the already accepted size and weight of commercially available devices. Your iPhone may be involved, but only for ancillary functions such as communicating with the world outside.

“Apple Goggles” would accentuate the company’s involvement in gaming as currently seen in the decent but unremarkable Apple Arcade. If Apple could untether their Goggles from the gaming rig, one could imagine an exciting future for the Apple Arcade service and its game developers — plus another revenue stream for the company. Once the battery size challenge is dealt with, a powerful Apple Silicon chip can be harnessed to the sensing and imaging tasks required to provide first-rate and untethered hallucinations. A gaming rig that’s seemingly inside your head.

In conclusion, I’ll once more tip my hat to Horace Dediu, analyst, historian and occasional poet of our tech world as he tweets:

“Those who predict the future we call futurists. Those who know when the future will happen we call billionaires.”

My take: Call me when they ship.


  1. Gregg Thurman said:
    Helmets, glasses or goggles,, it doesn’t matter, integrating AR, 3D, gesture interpreting gloves, 5G (the missing consumer use case for such a network) and Apple Arcade into a totally immersive gaming platform will destroy the gaming industry as we now know it.

    I can’t think of ANYONE with the hardware, silicon, OS, design, and software expertise required to launch such a unified product. Off the shelf (Android, Qualcomm, MSFT, Intel, Samsung, etc.) technology will lag Apple by 3-5 years and never be as good.

    Could this be that far off into the future? I’d be surprised if we don’t see it by the time Apple’s current Qualcomm agreement expires (2024).

    September 13, 2020
  2. Jerry Doyle said:
    “…. It should now be clear to any tech company with dreams of getting into the camera-embedded wearables game that turning your face into a live video recorder comes with an inherent creep factor.”

    Candidly, I am excited about Apple glass. The contradictory proposition of Apple glass is Tim Cook’s infamous denigration of Google glass when it first appeared. Cook denoted Apple believes in “wearables.” Now Apple appears to be moving to “glass,” at least many in the media talk of such movement.

    I can see the HUD being most functional, and an inducement for me to purchase a pair of AR glasses. If anyone can pull it off and make the glasses stylish, it will be Apple. I suspect, though, we have years to come before we see a pair proffered at the local Apple store.

    September 13, 2020
  3. George Row said:
    I am not predicting anything … but … wouldn’t it be entertaining if the meaning of
    “Time Flies”
    “Bet none of you guessed that we’d be announcing Apple Glasses this early?”

    September 13, 2020
    • Dan Scropos said:
      I like the creativity in your thoughts! There *were* initial rumors of some sort of headset coming out in 2020. Would be amazing. However, I believe there’s a near 100% chance the title refers to the new Apple Watch.

      September 13, 2020
  4. John Konopka said:
    A weird thing happens once you put a camera on your glasses. It’s one thing to have information or AR displayed on your glasses. It is kind of like looking at the display on your iPhone. Once you put a sensor on the glasses you are now in a bubble that is isolated from your neighbors. It can be threatening or at least unsettling to those around you.

    Maybe a LIDAR sensor wouldn’t be too bad. It would be hugely helpful but would not record as much detail as a camera. Imagine walking through your house in the dark with a LIDAR night vision display guiding you around the furniture.

    September 13, 2020
  5. Kirk DeBernardi said:
    Goggles? Or even anything like what’s currently available.

    Apparently you didn’t marinate long enough while at Apple.

    Uh…sorry Jean Louis.


    And since when does Apple design any device with a strong emphasis on gaming?

    September 14, 2020

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