The focus on augmented reality over at Apple is, so far, restricted to the iPhone and the iPad. But if some of the most reliable analysts in the business are to be believed, we'll probably see some kind of AR or VR wearable from the company later this year.
But what will that look like? Well, designer Dominik Hofacker has a few ideas, and they're so good they're worth examining.
Hofacker, who recently completed an internship at Facebook Reality Labs in Seattle, put together a concept video presentation that starts with the user slipping on a pair of concept Apple AR smartglasses and then shows the user interacting with a completely virtual operating system hovering over his real desk.
The fictional operating system is called macOS Reality, and it looks incredibly slick, just like you'd expect from Apple. Starting the system involves first scanning the environment as is common with ARKit-powered experiences shown through the iPhone.
Once the scanning is done, another presentation screen walks the user through how to interact with the virtual interface using pinch gestures that are reminiscent of the gestures common to the first HoloLens.
In addition to the in-air pinch and touch gestures, the concept design also plays with the idea of a virtual trackpad placed as a flat virtual square in the same place a real hardware trackpad might be situated.
The most interesting part of the concept design video occurs when the user scrolls down a web page and then pulls out a piece of 3D content (a dinosaur) that can be manipulated separately from the floating interface.
This kind of interaction already possible in AR through thanks to a new feature in Google Search, but imagining seeing this interaction in AR through a pair of Apple smartglasses is a compelling prospect.
The macOS Reality concept also includes a pair of virtual hands that presumably are meant to represent real hands. Wrapped around the wrist of one of those virtual hands is a control band similar to the one found on the virtual hands in the Oculus VR home environment.
Listed on the band are controls for things like Music and Calendar, which would normally be found in the new right-side slide-out tray in the interface for macOS Big Sur.
Will 2021 actually deliver a pair of Apple Glass smartglasses? Only time will tell, but if the operating system is anything like this concept design, Apple AR smartglasses would be a far easier wearable sell for first-time users than the pricey new AirPods Max or even the Apple Watch before it.