Can Apple succeed where its fellow tech giant Google failed?
The company behind the iPhone is reportedly eyeing the addition of digital glasses to its product lineup despite the failure of a similar product from Google, Bloomberg reported.
According to the report, the glasses would wirelessly connect with a user’s iPhone to display images, augmented reality (AR) features, and other information in front of the wearer’s eyes.
Apple is still mulling over the idea, Bloomberg said, but if it moves ahead the device could hit the market as soon as 2018. Apple has reportedly already sent out feelers to potential suppliers and ordered a handful of “near-eye displays” for testing, but has not yet asked for enough components for mass production, the report said.
The move comes as Apple looks for a way to maintain growth despite increasing pressure on its traditional engine, the iPhone.
In the second quarter, Apple’s iPhone sales slumped 15 percent year over year to 40.4 million, while revenue saw a corresponding slide of 15 percent to $42.4 billion. Though up sequentially, Apple’s iPhone sales were down again on a year-over-year basis in the third quarter. During that period, iPhone sales slid five percent to 45.5 million, down from 48 million the year prior.
In its October earnings call, Apple forecast a return to growth in the winter quarter thanks to the launch of the iPhone 7, holiday demand, and a stumble from Samsung with its Galaxy Note 7. But iPhone aside, the company lacks another product that can help pull in the big bucks. In the July to September period, revenue in the company’s “Other Products” category – which includes devices like the Apple Watch and iPod – dropped 22 percent.
Apple CEO Tim Cook on a conference call in July dropped a hint as to where the company might look next when he said AR can be “really great” and the company has been and will continue to invest in the technology.
“We are high on AR for the long run,” Cook said. “We think there are great things for customers and a great commercial opportunity.”
But Apple could face an uphill battle.
A similar project from Google – dubbed Google Glass – that offered users minimalistic Internet-connected glasses failed to catch on due to privacy concerns and battery life issues.