Apple to Launch New 3D System on iPads, iPhones

Apple is getting serious about AR and VR again

The system is said to be more advanced than the current Face ID technology on iPhones and it has been talked about in the media for some time now. Because AR involves placing virtual objects onto real-world ones, it's important to know exactly where those real-world objects are. CEO Tim Cook has been hot on the idea of AR for a number of years now.

It's crystal clear this is not just some facet job for the enterprise.

First, the headset. It's code-named N301 and will be a virtual reality and augmented reality hybrid. This will occur "in roughly a decade", according to executives at the presentation. These will be meant to worn all day, meaning they'll have to be slimmer, lighter and more comfortable than the headset.

That's no easy task. Apple is referring to AR headset apps as Stereo AR enabled apps.

AR looks better on larger displays, which likely explains why this 3D scanner is going first into the 2020 iPad Pro. You'll still need a phone in your pocket. Developing a technology that could replace it altogether makes sense.

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The iPhone and other smartphones already have some forms of AR through software like Snapchat and "Pokémon Go", though the tech has not seen wide, mainstream adoption.

Haven't we been here before?

A recent patent application from the company suggests Apple is pursing a technology described as a "Display Device" that uses a futuristic-sounding 'reflective holographic combiner'. The same will also be standard on the AR glasses as well which is slated for launch in 2023. However, the majority fall under enterprise and specialist products. There have been rumors that Apple may be experimenting with prototypes that have no screen gaps or smaller screen gaps. Think Google Glass, but actually useful and with more than an hour of battery life. The missing piece is the glasses - the ambient visual information that unlocks a whole new set of interfaces. However, for this device, the paired iPhone/iPad will likely do more of the heavy lifting.

Even if it can do that, will everyone want to wear a pair of glasses all day, every day? Its uses are bound to range from the essentials through to entertainment and the mundane.

Now it looks like it will finally become a reality. But, if Apple's AR optimism is realised, the smart glasses could be a hit as big as the iPhone.

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