If you look at Apple's latest earnings reports, you'll notice that Apple's R & D spending has grown at an impressive rate in recent years. For example, during the last quarter of June, Apple invested $ 3.7 billion in R & D spending. By comparison, this number is larger than Apple's overall research and development budget for 2012.
So, what exactly does Apple do? While Apple tends to keep quiet about upcoming products and technologies, one of the most intriguing rumors we've seen is focused on Apple launching a pair of AR-powered smart glasses in the not too distant future. As recently as this month, respected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo released an investor note stating that by 2020, Apple will release glasses with a "revolutionary UI" focused on an immersive AR experience. With that in mind, Reuters reports that Apple recently acquired a start-up with expertise in eyeglass lens manufacturing.
According to the report, Apple has confirmed the acquisition of Akonia Hologrpahics, a Colorado. Based Startup
Akonia said its display technology allows for "thin, transparent smart glass lenses that display vibrant, full color, wide field of view images." The company has a portfolio of more than 200 patents related to holographic systems and materials, according to its website
The acquisition of Akonia is the first clear indication of how Apple faces one of the biggest challenges in the industry Augmented reality hardware could cope: The production of crystal clear optical displays thin and light enough to fit in glasses that are similar to the everyday frame, with pictures that are bright enough for outdoor use and are suitable for mass production at a relatively low price.
Remarkably, Tim Cook said late last year that the dis game technology needed to make smart glasses a reality was just not mature enough. Maybe Akonia is an answer to this problem.
"But today I can tell you that the technology itself [smart glasses] does not exist in a high quality way," Cook said last October. "The display technology is needed, as well as enough stuff to put on your face ̵
In addition, the acquisition is particularly intriguing as Apple unlike some other technology companies, it makes acquisitions only when it has plans to integrate a company's technology into an existing or future product line. Combined with the countless other rumors that we've seen with Apple's interest in AR-based smart glasses, it's obvious that these mythical glasses we've been hearing about for years could become a shipping product sometime in the next few years.
As for previous rumors about Apple smart glasses, a Foxconn insider allegedly published a number of interesting details about the product last year. In other words, you'll definitely want those details with a big dose of salt. In addition to this restriction, the insider claimed that Apple's smart glasses have a resolution of 428 × 240, a microphone for Siri support included and could also receive calls.