If smart glasses go mainstream, Apple will be required to enter the market in order to satisfy their shareholders.
Consider what will happen to poor Apple. Smartphone margins are getting smaller. The tablet market is not as good as it used to. Smartwatches aren’t getting as popular as expected. Apple TV is still not going to bring in huge profits. So Apple has to adapt and evolve consumer technology to continue to dominate the market and grow.
Also, the choice of smartphone in the future may be dictated by the use of smart glasses. If mainstream smart glasses require an Android phone, Apple could lose a whole lot of profit.
Apple is starting to consider creating smart glasses
Apple is seriously considering entering the “digital glasses” market. That report was based on anonymous sources, who said Apple is considering glasses that would go on sale in 2018 and “show images and other information in the wearer’s field of vision, and may use augmented reality.”
Apple recently has made some augmented, reality-based company acquisitions. Apple bought PrimeSense, which makes the sensor technology in Microsoft’s Kinect. They also bought augmented reality startups Metaio, Faceshift, Emotient and Flyby.
Word is also going around that that Apple may be working with Carl Zeiss on smart glasses. All that planning, thinking and spending may pay off for Apple when smart glasses go mainstream.
Your frame and glass manufacturers are going “smart.”
The signs that augmented reality is going mainstream are everywhere. This week, French lens giant Essilor merged with Italy’s eyeglass behemoth Luxottica in a $53 billion deal that will result in the world’s largest glasses company, to be named EssilorLuxottica. Essilor also unveiled last year a prototype of an augmented reality system for the visually impaired called MyEye, which enables any text to be read, converted to text, and then read aloud to the wearer.
The world’s biggest lens company is merging with the world’s biggest frame company. Also, Essilor CEO Hubert Sagnières told the media that the purpose of the merger was innovation in “connected glasses,” and the ability to deliver them “extremely fast to consumers through all the stores of the world and all [our] networks,” according to the Financial Times.
Admit it, smart glasses are fugly
While lots of companies explore what’s possible with the technology, and what’s desirable among consumers, they forgot aesthetics and fashion sense. They’re bulky and unwearable.
With this in mind, the field is really wide open for Apple and EssilorLuxottica.
Fashion gives Apple room in the smart glass market
All the bulky, goofy, expensive smart glasses on the market now may find their customers in the gaming geek, drone-control, enterprise and other scenes. But they won’t go mainstream and, therefore, won’t change how we use our mobile devices. The geek tech sector has proved that it’s not really up to the challenge of offering compelling fashion designs in wearables.
But Luxottica is a fashion company, and so is Apple. Apple proved this with its Apple Watch, which comes in a dizzying variety of types, faces and bands.
With this in mind, new smart glasses will have to look just like regular prescription glasses and sunglasses. And you’ll be able to order them as a check-box item whenever you get your regular glasses.
Considering that today’s smart glasses are ugly, bulky and dorky, it doesn’t seem like Apple would enter the market.
But when you think of the fact that tomorrow’s smart glasses will look like cool designer glasses, that they’ll be mainstream gadgets, and that they’ll be luxury fashion goods, it’s clear that Apple will definitely want to get their hold of this market.