Apple AR glasses release date, news and rumors

Updated: Apple officially wants to rule the augmented reality space. At WWDC 2017, it revealed its new ARKit development software for Apple devices. If ever there was fuel to the Apple AR glasses fire, it's this. Read on for all the full details.

You’ve all-but perfected the smartphone with the iPhone, invented a new computing category with the iPad tablet, have embedded a voice assistant into enough gadgets to make Siri a household name, and have somehow encouraged an army of followers to accept the need to buy a junk-shop’s worth of dongles every time you tweak a product line. 

If you’re Apple, king of the tech hill, where do you go next?

The answer, it seems, lay with augmented reality. Specifically, Apple AR glasses seem to be the ‘next big thing’ that Tim Cook’s world-conquering tech brand is set to unleash upon the world.

So what do we know about the rumored Apple augmented reality glasses so far? When will the Apple AR spectacles be released, and what could a pair of Apple AR glasses offer that the world’s current smartphone screens and VR headsets can’t?

Read on to find out!

Cut to the chase

What is it? A new Apple wearable, a pair of glasses making use of augmented reality tech.

When is it out? No fixed date, but a reveal as early as summer 2017 is possible.

What will it cost? Based on Snap Spectacles pricing, anything from $130/ £105/ AU$170 and upwards – but anything ten times as costly could be possible depending on Apple’s final configuration.

What is augmented reality?

You’re familiar with the concept of virtual reality, right? Popping on a headset and having software transport you to an interactive, 360-degree, left, right, up, down, all-encompassing virtual world? 

Augmented reality works a bit like that but with one big difference. Rather than giving a window into an invented world, it uses either screens or transparent lenses to place digital items on top of the real world around you.

Pokemon Go makes the pocket monster appear in your world using AR

The most popular examples of this in action today would be Snapchat’s stickers (the ones that put slobbering dog tongues and cat ears on your moving videos intelligently), or Pokemon Go which puts Pikachu and co into your world through a combination of your phone’s camera and screen. 

Both see your real world “augmented” by software on your smart device. Essentially, AR lets you get context sensitive digital information overlaid onto your real world surroundings – look at a subway station and get train times automatically displayed, for instance, or walk down the aisles of a food store and have the specs recommend a recipe.

Apple’s iPhone 8 is thought to lean heavily on AR technology, but dedicated AR wearables already exist from rivals, too. Of the big name players, Snapchat’s nascent efforts see it cheat a little, with the Snap Spectacles amounting to little more than a head mounted camera in a glasses frame, feeding into the core Snapchat app. 

Google Glass was an ambitious AR headset, but simply not good enough to go mainstream

Microsoft’s HoloLens is more ambitious, putting Windows PC capabilities into a headset that lets you access everything from a web browser to Minecraft within your real world.

And then of course there’s Google Glass – which saw its buzz burn out pretty quickly, thanks to a screen that sat uncomfortably in front of your eye offering hard-to-read information overlays.

What is Apple ARKit?

ARKit is Apple's way of sticking its flag down into the augmented reality landscape, an attempt to claim the space as its own.

Revealed at WWDC 2017, ARKit is a new set of APIs to let developers build augmented reality applications for Apple devices. It's specifically being pitched currently for iPad and iPhone devices (making it the "largest AR platform in the world", according to Craig Federighi, Apple's Senior Vice President of Software Engineering), but certainly paves the way for an AR glasses device in the future.

Apple showed off a number of impressive demos, from simply placing objects like a digital coffee cup, light stand and a plant onto a tabletop (as viewed through an iPad camera lens and screen). But it expanded to include a mind-blowing sci-fi battle scene, complete with tiny, minutely detailed people and swooping starships, courtesy of director Peter Jackson's company Wingnut. It's an experience coming to existing devices before the end of 2017.

So how's this possible? ARKit enables "fast, stable" motion tracking, and accurate plane, ambient light and scale estimation.

As if there was any doubt, all this will require camera, CPU, GPU and motion sensor hardware working in tandem. So, whether tapping into a nearby mobile device, or viewed through lenses, Apple's ARKit has the same basic hardware requirements as all other AR gear we've seen so far. Specific spec requirements, however, will have to wait for now.

But developers will be happy – with support for Unity, Unreal, and SceneKit engines, Apple is looking to make its AR platform accessible for devs already working in the space. 

Why would Apple make AR glasses?

CAPITALISM. Those shareholders’ appetites for mansions and swimming pools won’t be sated! 

But on a serious note, Apple’s in need of a new product category. The last time Apple launched an inarguably successful new product line was the iPad – and even that has proved difficult to maintain momentum in. AR is an exciting new area, and one in which Apple (at least in hardware terms) wouldn’t have huge competition in, at least in the present. 

Yes, there’s the Microsoft HoloLens – but that’s primarily being billed currently as a business-orientated device. Google’s Glass failure has seen it put more time into its VR based Daydream View and Cardboard projects, while Samsung likewise continues with its Gear VR efforts.

It’s an opportunity for Apple to set itself aside from the pack and, for Tim Cook, to launch a product that doesn’t have the shadow of the late Steve Jobs looming over it.

Apple boss Tim Cook sees great potential in augmented reality

Tim Cook has sung the praises of AR tech, going so far as to say augmented reality use will become as common as "eating three meals a day".

"A significant portion of the population of developed countries, and eventually all countries, will have AR experiences every day," he said during the 2016 Utah Tech tour, before casting shade on VR.

"I can't imagine everyone in here getting in an enclosed VR experience while you're sitting in here with me," said Cook to those assembled for the Utah talk.

"AR is going to take a while, because there are some really hard technology challenges there," he added.

"But it will happen, it will happen in a big way, and we will wonder when it does, how we ever lived without it. Like we wonder how we lived without our phone today."

Apple AR glasses hardware: the evidence, the patents and the specs

So, we've established Apple’s definitely working on AR software. Sources claim that the iPhone 8 will be the big start for Apple’s AR device ambitions, with iPhone leading the charge for dedicated AR hardware to follow.

But it’s moving fast, and with big teams. Apple is said to have 1,000 engineers working on an AR project in Israel, and has purchased multiple AR firms including Tel Aviv's PrimeSense (focused on 3D sensing tech) and RealFace (facial recognition cyber security experts).

A glimpse at digital items placed in the real world

It’s also made a number of key AR talent hires. According to a report from Bloomberg, Apple has poached a leading employee of Nasa for the project, hiring Jeff Norris, founder of the Mission Operations Innovation Office of Nasa's Jet Propulsion Lab. He is said to be working as part of an augmented reality team being headed up by another poached talent, Dolby Labs executive Mike Rockwell.

Apple has also been granted a number of patents related to AR and VR technologies, including a headset with headphones built in and a remote control. Perhaps most telling of all is a leaked injury report out of Apple’s Cupertino headquarters, which suggests Apple is working on a “prototype unit” which has resulted in eye injuries for two users. It’s unlikely an iPhone or MacBook prototype would result in eye injury at this mature stage in their ongoing development – but a potential new product, the details of which are still being hammered out, which will likely sit right in front of your eyes? We have our culprit, it seems.

Apple’s patented AR mapping idea

Software patents have trickled through too – a submission from February 2010 saw Apple trying to protect an idea it had regarding “augmented reality maps”, shows off how digital mapping data could be overlaid onto real-time video from an iPhone's camera. Any success with iPhone would likely be easily translated to the dedicated glasses devices.

There’s also a suggestion that, having severed ties with GPU chipset designer Imagination Technologies, Apple is looking to develop its own chipsets with AR technology as a key development target.

Apple also recently announced that it would be pumping $200 million of investment into Gorilla Glass manufacturers Corning. Though it's as likely to be fuelling a move to wireless charging for iPhones as anything else, Corning's work on lightweight, durable glass would make them a perfect match for a pair of AR specs. 

Corning have already dabbled in augmented reality projects – check out this concept of the company's AR car windscreen.

What will Apple AR glasses cost?

That’s a tough question, as there’s no real precedent for this sort of thing yet.
On one hand, you’ve got the incredibly basic Snap Spectacles which are priced around $130/ £105/ AU$170. But we’re expecting Apple’s AR glasses to be far more feature rich than this.

On the other, you have HoloLens. It’s not really a consumer device, and is only available on a limited basis to developers at a cost of $3,000 (£2,719, AU$4,369). But Apple’s glasses will likely be built to mass-market scale, and with consumers (and associated price tags) in mind.

So it’s a guessing game really. Keeping in mind that Apple tends to slap a premium on its devices, a broad estimate of somewhere between $500/$AU670/£400 and $1,000/£800/AU$1,300 could be the ballpark. But don’t hold us to that.

BlackBerry KEYone sets new record for pre-orders of a BlackBerry device at Rogers

Tweets sent out Friday by Steve Cistulli, President and GM of TCL Communication, revealed just how eagerly anticipated the BlackBerry KEYone is, at least in Canada. The executive said that the KEYone set a new record for the number of pre-orders received by Canadian carrier Rogers for any BlackBerry device. Cistulli also had a message for U.S. consumers interested in the BlackBerry KEYone. He said that on May 31st, when the KEYone launches in the U.S., it will be in stock and available through “different retail channels.”

There are two features of the BlackBerry KEYone that consumers have fixated on. One is the physical QWERTY keyboard, which is a major improvement over the one on the BlackBerry Priv slider. The other is the long battery life, which is due to the energy sipping Snapdragon 625 chipset in combination with the 3505mAh battery on board.

Rogers was among the first carriers to offer BlackBerry service in Canada back in 1999. With that in mind, the record number of  pre-orders garnered by the carrier for the BlackBerry KEYone bodes well for sales of the device in the country. In the states, unlocked GSM and CDMA versions of the handset will be available this coming Tuesday,  priced at $549. Later this summer, the KEYone will be offered through U.S. carriers including Sprint. As more information is released about U.S. availability, we will pass it along to you.

source: @SteveCistulli via CrackBerry

Software update is pushed out to the T-Mobile LG V20

The T-Mobile version of the LG V20 has started receiving an update to software version H91810k. According to the T-Mobile support page, the update adds the Google monthly security patch, eliminates various bugs, and adds stability to software running on the phone. In addition, a problem with the e911 (enhanced 911) feature is remedied. This is the version of 911 that allows dispatchers to know where you are calling from when you make an emergency call from a smartphone.

The update weighs in at 88.7MB. When it arrives on your LG V20, make sure that you are connected to a Wi-Fi network before starting the updating process. In addition, you need to charge the battery on the handset up to at least 50% before moving ahead with the update’s installation.

Since this is an OTA update, it is sent out on a staggered basis. That means that it can still be a few days before it hits your LG V20. If you’re not the patient type, you can try to manually update your handset by going to Settings > General > About phone > Update Center > System update > Check for update.

This might not be the most feature-packed software update, but the security patch is important as is the e911 fix. Make sure you take the opportunity to install the update on your LG V20 as soon as possible.

source: T-Mobile via TMONews

Unannounced Samsung Galaxy J7 (2017) and Galaxy J5 (2017) star in hands-on videos

Samsung has yet to announce the Galaxy J7 (2017) and Galaxy J5 (2017), but we’ve already seen renders showing both handsets. What’s more, Samsung inadvertently confirmed the phones’ existence, so we assume it won’t be long before they’ll hit the market. Until that happens, we can now take a look at the two upcoming phones in a couple of short video reviews made somewhere in Russia. The videos are not subtitled, but at least they provide the best look at the new Galaxy J series thus far.

Both the Galaxy J7 (2017) and Galaxy J5 (2017) are made out of metal, and share the same design, although they do differ in size. The handsets run Android 7 Nougat, and – unlike any previous Galaxy J phone – they feature fingerprint scanners.

The new Galaxy J7 sports a 5.5-inch 1080p display, further offering an octa-core Samsung Exynos 7870 processor, 3 GB of RAM, 16 GB of expandable storage space, and a 3600 mAh battery. There’s a 13 MP camera on the back of the handset, and another 13 MP camera on the front, both with LED flashes. All in all, this seems to be a pretty capable mid-range smartphone.

The new Galaxy J5 is also powered by an Exynos 7870 processor, and has 13 MP rear and front cameras, but it only offers 2 GB of RAM and a 3000 mAh battery. Oh, and its display is a 5.2-inch 720p one.

Right now, it’s not clear if the Galaxy J (2017) series – which should also include a new J3 – will be officially released in the US. However, since various older Galaxy J7 and J3 variants are available stateside via carriers like Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile, we assume that at least some of the new models will make it to the US. We’ll let you know more about the Galaxy J (2017) family as soon as Samsung announces it.

source: YouTube (Galaxy J7 2017, Galaxy J5 2017)

Bloomberg: Apple is prepping a dedicated AI processor

According to a source familiar with Apple’s plans, the company is designing an artificial intelligence-focused chip that would concentrate on functions that would normally requite human intelligence. This includes facial and speech recognition. Apple feels pressured to regain the advantage it once had in this space when it surprised everyone with the inclusion of personal assistant Siri. That took place on October 4th, 2011 with the release of the Apple iPhone 4s.. Since then, not only have companies like Google, Amazon and Microsoft caught up with Apple’s technology, many are well ahead.

Apple currently uses both the central processing unit and the graphics processing unit in its devices to handle processes that use AI. Apple could increase processing speed and preserve battery life by having a dedicated chip handle any AI tasks. Chipmaker Qualcomm already has an AI module built in to the Snapdragon 835 chipset, which is currently running high-end Android devices like the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+. The chip will also be found inside the recently introduced HTC U11.

According to the source, Apple plans on offering third-party developers access to the chip, which will allow them to include AI features on their apps. Former Apple analyst Gene Munster points out the reasons why Apple is working on this chip. “Two of the areas that Apple is betting its future on require AI,” said Munster. “At the core of augmented reality and self-driving cars is artificial intelligence.”

We could hear more from Apple about this AI chip during WWDC, which starts next month. Apple will also introduce iOS 11 at the annual conference, which will take place June 5th through June 9th.

source: Bloomberg

Final ruling from arbitration panel awards BlackBerry $940 million from Qualcomm

Last month, we told you that an arbitration panel had awarded BlackBerry a preliminary amount of $814.9 million from Qualcomm to resolve a dispute over royalties. BlackBerry claimed that Qualcomm failed to cap the amount of royalties that it was paying based on an agreement both sides shook hands over back in 2010. Back then, BlackBerry was still quite a relevant company in the smartphone industry, just one year removed from its peak as King of the Smartphone world. At the time, everyone expected BlackBerry’s sales to continue to rise including both Qualcomm and BlackBerry itself.

As a result, the pair reached a deal for BlackBerry to make fixed royalty payments to Qualcomm based on the number of phones BlackBerry sold. Just then, BlackBerry sales were destroyed by both the Apple iPhone and a variety of Android handsets. As BlackBerry sales collapsed, the fixed royalty payments to Qualcomm were becoming too high based on the lower number, and surpassed Qualcomm’s royalty cap, which was designed to keep down the cost of using Qualcomm’s essential patents.

When BlackBerry and Qualcomm made the original agreement, they decided on using binding arbitration to handle any dispute among the parties. That led to the preliminary decision made last month. Today, a final award was issued by the arbitration panel and BlackBerry is now to be paid $940 million by Qualcomm. The payment must be made on or before May 31st, 2017. That happens to be the same day that the new BlackBerry KEYone is launched in the U.S. It sounds like a day for the company to hold a celebration.

source: BlackBerry

Four free months of Google Play Music now offered for new subscribers

Google usually offers three free months of Google Play Music for new subscribers, after which they have to pay $9.99 per month if they want to continue to use the music streaming service.

However, it looks like the Mountain View company wants to enlarge its pool of subscribers by running a promotion on its music service. For a limited time, Google offers new customers four free months of Google Play Music instead of just three.

Nothing else changed regarding the service’s price, so you’ll still have to pay $9.99 after the four-month trial that Google is now …

Android os co-founder’s new phone unveil teased for Tuesday [Update]

Update: Whelp, if you didn’t think we had been in for a phone unveil on 30, think again. 

Android co-founder Andy Rubin’s start-up Essential delivered another tweet on May 25, this time around of a rectangular silhouette that appears suspiciously just like a phone (the buttons!). Real to rumors, it seems there exists a hardware attachment, most likely the camera, at the top.

Original story below…

Two months after teasing a mysterious brand new device, high-profile startup important could possibly be just times far from unveiling its debut phone.

Started by Android co-founder Andy Rubin, Essential has cut loose the very first tweet on its formal Twitter profile, announcing that “something big” is expected to go down this coming Tuesday, might 30.

It absolutely was reported back January that Rubin was creating a brand new, high-end smartphone that featured a ceramic straight back and edge-to-edge display. One standout function associated with the rumored device is the capacity to tack on brand new equipment via the phone’s charge slot, perhaps not unlike Motorola’s clip-on Moto Mod upgrades.

Since then, Rubin teased an image of exactly what seems to be a bezel-less handset, while Alphabet executive president Eric Schmidt confirmed the telephone Rubin’s group is cooking up runs on Android.

Thus giving united states at the very least two possible factual statements about the mysterious important Phone, though we will turn to find out more difficult details whenever Essential drops its “big” news in a few days.

Deal: Apple iPad Mini 4 is 25% off at Best Buy, you save $100

Best Buy’s four-day Memorial Day sale kicks off with attractive deals on some of Apple’s tablets and smartwatches. In case you haven’t read our previous report, then you’ll be glad to know you can save $70 when you buy any of Apple’s Watch Series 2 smartwatches at Best Buy.

However, if you’re looking for a tablet, Best Buy has another deal for you. The iPad Mini 4 has been discounted by $100 (25% off), which means customers will be able to pick this one up for just $300. The iPad Mini 4 Wi-Fi is available at Best Buy in three color choices: Gold, Silver and Space …

T-Mobile launches Alcatel GO Flip dumb phone for just $75

Even though smartphone sales exploded in the last couple of years, there are still many consumers who are still using so-called “dumb phones.” Few major brands still launch feature phones, and they’re mostly selling well in emerging markets where people can’t afford smartphones.

Well, it appears that T-Mobile has picked up a new features phone, the Alcatel GO Flip. As the name suggests, this is a clamshell phone that offers just the basic traits even though it packs decent specs.

First off, it’s worth pointing out the Alcatel GO Flip is available at T-Mobile …