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Zuckerberg beats rumors of ‘Apple Glass’ technology, saying HUDs are like ‘putting an Apple Watch on your face’

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday snubbed heads-up display and external processing technology, systems Apple is rumored to use in a first-generation “Apple Glass” product, as insufficient for applications with augmented reality.

Zuckerberg in an interview with The Verge explained that the transition from VR products such as Facebook’s Oculus series to portable AR layouts will be a particularly challenging problem for hardware manufacturers to solve.

In particular, the AR experience will only be “good” when a pair of “normal glasses” can project holograms on real scenes, he said. This level of sophistication will require significant computing power and is far beyond the capacity of existing hardware.

“I do not think we are close to getting all the electronics you need to get in a thin frame,” Zuckerberg said. “But the hope would be that you can get it into more normal glasses in the first part of this decade or the first half of this decade.”

Facebook on Wednesday announced a next-generation unbound VR headset in Oculus Quest 2. The social media giant’s VR arm also killed the PC-connected Rift line of devices.

Apple is among a handful of large technology companies that are rumored to work with head-mounted laptop screens. Some rumors suggest that a first version of the headset, called the “Apple Glass” of leaks, will have a HUD-like interface as an intermediate step towards immersive environments. A report in late 2019 claimed Apple plans to release an AR headset in 2022, followed by a pair of smart glasses in 2023.

“The biggest shortcut that a lot of people are trying to take is basically trying not to make full holograms in the world, and just showing some information about your head. I call it putting an Apple Watch on your face,” Zuckerberg said. “I do not personally think it is so convincing. It is not a product that we are particularly excited to make. Maybe someone else will make it. It does not suit the type of social uses that we primarily care about.”

Whether Apple intends to rely solely on a HUD interface or integrate AR assets rooted in 3D space is unclear at this time. The latter can be considered a “real” AR system, but will probably require remote processing.

Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo previously predicted that Apple would release a headset that loads processing and other tasks to the iPhone, leaving the glasses device as a simple screen. In May, leaker Jon Prosser added to Kuo’s predictions and said that “Apple Glass” will boast a LiDAR module and support both physical and air movements.

More recently, former Apple CEO Jean-Louis Gassee guessed in a speculative report published Monday that Apple would release a VR headset as a first race into the world of mixed-reality devices.

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