Apple is notoriously private when it comes to perspective products, but the latest leak from their De Anza office in Cupertino suggests that a new augmented reality device could be coming to a store near you.
Gizmodo has obtained documents which appear to confirm that the tech giant has an AR headset in the works. The news stems from a report compiled by an Environment Health and Safety contractor for Apple — a report that was accidentally sent to all its employees. Oops ...
The document, titled "Impact Descriptions Reported in Santa Clara Valley from Last Month," was sent on April 14 and it discusses 70 different incidents which are sure to make Apple blush. These ranged from a data-collecting minivan hitting an employee to another worker burning his hand while removing fish from an oven in Apple's Infinite Loop campus — an incident that, presumably, took place in the company's cafe.
However, two instances in particular caught our eye, as they potentially indicate that the tech giant is working on AR headsets. A report dated February 21 stated that:
After BT4 user study, user advised study lead, that she experienced discomfort in her eye and said she was able to see the laser flash at several points during the study. Study lead referred her to an optometrist and secured prototype unit for analysis.
The following month, another incident was filed in which an employee "reported eye pain after working with a new prototype, thought it may be associated with use":
He noticed that the security seal on the magenta (outer) case had been broken and had thought the unit may have been tampered with.
Next Reality contributing editor Jason Odom said, "We have been following Apple's movements for some time now. With patents for headsets and the swirl of rumors, it is easy to jump to the conclusion that these emails are about some new AR smartglasses. But we have also had rumors of a 3D AR sensor for either the upcoming or following iPhone, which leads to many other potential reasons for the issues in the above emails. There is little doubt that Apple is working on something in this field. But what? We will just have to wait."
There's definitely something brewing in the Apple headquarters, that's for sure. Next Reality has reached out to Apple for comment on the matter and has yet to hear back. Presumably, the new product would be AR glasses with an overhead display, judging by the injuries.
The leaks seem to confirm an open secret about Apple's ambitions in the AR field. Last month, Business Insider reported that Apple had "over 1,000 engineers working on a project in Israel that could be related to AR."
Indeed, the company is said to be increasingly interested in AR because it connects users by merely superimposing additional layers on their existing environment, rather than virtual reality which can often be isolating.