Mark Gurman watched WWDC 21 and saw Apple’s big product of ’22

From “Apple’s headset plans are hiding in plain sight” mailed Friday to Bloomberg’s Fully Charged subscribers:

Here’s a look at the features included in iOS 15 that could also be essential to Apple’s upcoming headsets, including a mixed AR and VR device for a likely launch in 2022, and the AR glasses planned for a few years after that.

    • Updates to FaceTime: As Bloomberg has reported before, a core use of Apple’s first planned AR and VR product will be communicating with people.
    • Maps: Apple’s iOS 15 adds AR-enabled turn-by-turn walking directions. When the company ultimately releases a pair of AR-only glasses—a release said to be slated for later this decade—the ability to beam mapping directions onto actual streets is likely to be a key feature.
    • Improved Siri and voice input: Siri and voice control could be a critical way of interacting with Apple’s future headsets
    • Live text: iOS 15 will be able to parse out text or numbers from photos
    • Visual lookup: Apple’s new operating system can now do a better job of seeing objects, recognizing them, and looking them up online. That’s a feature that has obvious applications for an AR device.

My take: There’s a reason “Apple’s plans hiding in plain sight” is a popular trope (Google it). As Gurman notes, this wouldn’t be the first time Apple has built features in one year’s iOS to support a next-year hardware launch.

In iOS 8 in 2014, Apple added the Health app, new quick messaging and typing features, and the ability to start doing something on one device then continue that task on another. At the time, those features all had the clear capability to support a future Apple Watch launch in 2015, which they did.

12 Comments

  1. A line of eyeglasses with the ability to adjust opaqueness or simply allow AR enhancements to the transparent setting. A head-up display when you want it, VR glasses when you need it, and it’s safe to tune out the real world. AirPods in the temples, of course.
    I smelled a VR gaming headset coming when they bought Beats. The scent was palpable on Day 1 of WWDC. Now, I’m certain the patents and app displays also point to AEV windshields, not necessarily an Apple car, maybe the next BMW. CarPlay Pro. Daimler already has an AR-based head-up display on the windscreen in top models. Catching the eye’s gaze is a neat trick.

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    June 11, 2021
  2. Lalit Jagtap said:
    Horace has been teaching the world about “how to understand what’s hiding in plain sight using Apple as a lens”.

    5
    June 11, 2021
    • Kirk DeBernardi said:
      @ Lalit Jagtap —

      One of the best tips to give any AAPL investor is to follow Horace Dediu at “Asymco” and Neil Cybart at “Above Avalon”.

      They get Apple comprehensively, not only where it’s heading, but moreover, they have a finger on the pulse of its soul.

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      June 11, 2021
  3. Jerry Doyle said:
    I continue my refrain: Apple now is hitting on all cylinders with a pipeline of unique & innovative products to roll out in successive years. The product climax of this specific refrain era will be the Apple Car. It may be difficult for some now to envision with Apple stock recent performance treading, but this is a $200 stock. Eventually WS will be compelled to acknowledge continued solid quarterly performances in earnings and product & services growth. Long term investors only need to say one south Cajun refrain: “… Laissez le bon temps rouler!” Geaux Apple!

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    June 11, 2021
  4. George Kiersted said:
    Could “spatial audio” be another part of this effort?

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    June 11, 2021
  5. Fred Stein said:
    AR? Yes and big time.

    VR? Tim Cook never talks about it.

    True immersive VR is a niche opportunity. AR can enhance all Apple flat screen and sound/voice device experiences. Most of us have about 10 or more flat screen or sound/voice devices. (not counting the old earbuds that we never use since AirPod came out.)

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    June 11, 2021
    • Jerry Doyle said:
      @Fred Stein: You are correct about Tim C never discussing VR. In fact, he has gone out of his way in the interviews that I watched to mitigate the role of VR and instead discuss and laud over the commercialization and utility of AR.

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      June 11, 2021
      • Fred Stein said:
        Exactly.

        One wonders why people don’t take Tim Cook at face value. AR, literally as Augmented, is ‘so Apple’ – augmenting, enriching, etc.

        VR seems the antithesis, taking one away for the real world.

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        June 11, 2021
  6. John Konopka said:
    I’m curious how they will deal with putting a camera on the glasses. You need the camera to identify your surroundings, but there are huge privacy issues. You could say that the images are never uploaded, never stored. Maybe there would be a face recognition / face blurring processor such that an identifiable person would never appear in an image. I mean face recognition in the sense of just knowing that a person is present so their whole body could be blurred, or maybe replaced by a Memoji? You would still see faces because you were looking directly at people. Any image that got acquired would not have people. The image processors are becoming fast enough to do this.

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    June 11, 2021
    • Roger Schutte said:
      Processing for AR in the glasses will probably be done locally on a user’s iPhone – just like it was on the first Apple Watch.

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      June 11, 2021
  7. Kirk DeBernardi said:
    New “bright & shiny” devices will always pull at the heartstrings, but this WWDC is about the “sticky” — up & down — left & right.

    Nothing but good for the future.

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    June 11, 2021

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