March 23, 2017

It’s rare that Apple CEO Tim Cook will divulge information about any secret projects the tech giant could be working on, so when he does, it’s a pretty good sign that those plans will come to fruition.

The latest invention being whispered among tech circles is that Apple’s next 10th-anniversary iPhone model (referred to some as the iPhone X) will include some form of augmented reality technology, which superimposes images, video and games onto a user’s real-world environment.

In an interview last month, Cook said he was “excited” about augmented reality and considered it to be a “big idea” on par with the smartphone, which many analysts and investors took to mean that Apple probably has some kind of AR-inspired products in the works.

“Overall it seems like Cook’s been more enthusiastic about AR than any other kind of potential game-changing initiative that they’ve had out there,” said CFRA analyst Angelo Zino.

A string of recent moves by Apple indicates that it could have more in store for AR, including “digital spectacles” that are wirelessly tethered to the upcoming iPhone and can have content beamed to them from the phone, according to Bloomberg.

Apple will have to put a great deal of thought into the glasses’ power consumption, operating system and internal hardware in order to eventually bring the gadget to the masses, however, Bloomberg noted.

According to Zino, it’s likely that Apple will debut its first augmented reality technology inside the iPhone X, but consumers shouldn’t expect the AR glasses to also come in 2017.

The eyeglasses are more likely to arrive in late 2018, he noted, adding that he’d be “shocked” to see the glasses be released alongside the new iPhone.

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