Apple (AAPL) fans, start your engines.
Not only will the did Apple announce on Thursday that it’s dropping a new iPhone in mid-September, the company also made moves to make investors believe it may be taking a crack at smart-glasses technology.
Apple confirmed on Thursday that purchased Akonia Holographics, a Colorado-based creator of “advanced optical technologies,” according to its website. The startup focuses on making “thin, transparent smart glass lenses,” leading to heightened speculation that Apple is working on an ‘Apple Glasses’ product that will deliver augmented reality experiences. In a note to clients, the well-known Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of Hong Kong-based TF International Securities suggested that Apple’s next lucrative frontier is AR and cars. Earlier this month, Apple became the first company to cross a $1 trillion market cap.
Apple executives have raved about augmented reality on several occasions. At Apple’s WWDC event in June, Apple’s head of software engineering Craig Federighi described the tech as “transformative”, with Apple rolling out a new kit, ARKit2, to help developers build AR apps. And on Apple’s latest earnings call, CEO Tim Cook talked up AR’s “limitless potential” along with Apple’s ability to drive the technology forward in all of its devices.
Techie glasses, in particular, haven’t made much of a splash in the past, with Alphabet’s (GOOGL) Google Glasses famously flopping with after they launched back in 2013. Snap’s (SNAP) Spectacles, which attached a camera to sunglasses, also were a dud with consumers.
Nonetheless, Cook believes that Apple will be the company to finally nail it: “Apple is uniquely positioned to provide the best AR experience because of the seamless integration of our hardware and software,” he said in Apple’s July earnings report.
Apple is now scheduled to reveal a new iPhone, as well as updates to Macbook Airs, Mac Minis, the iPad and Apple Watch on Sept. 12.
Although Apple stays strictly mum about what’s coming at its regular fall events, much of the attention will likely focus on its new iPhones, Apple’s flagship product and the source of more than 60% of its revenue. As for what’s may be in store for the iPhone, rumors include an expanded set of sizes and prices — potentially including a cheaper entry-level phone in the $650 range — a dual-SIM slot, and a variety of cosmetic improvements.
Apple’s stock was climbing on Thursday, up nearly 4% as of afternoon trading.
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