Key Apple supplier strikes AR glasses deal

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Face Id
Apple smart glasses would have to look stylish.
Photo: Apple

One of Apple’s biggest manufacturing partners says it plans to get into the augmented reality business.

Quanta Computer revealed today that it has struck an agreement to start making lenses for an augmented reality headset. Even though the deal isn’t with Apple, it could signal that augmented reality headsets are about to hit the market in a big way.

Quanta will make lenses for Israel-based company Lumus. The company’s smart glasses project information into the wearer’s field of view to add contextual data depending on the situation. As part of the deal, Bloomberg reports that Quanta will be allowed to make augmented reality components for other companies like Apple or Google.

Apple has heavy interest in making its own augmented reality headset eventually. Tim Cook repeatedly mentions that he views augmented reality as a more powerful platform than virtual reality. A team of hundreds of engineers at Apple are supposedly exploring different AR headset projects.

Cook has said the tech isn’t quite there yet for a great augmented reality headset. But now that major manufacturers like Quanta are starting to make parts for it, the price for Apple smart glasses in the future could be cheaper than an iPhone.

“This means that the most expensive key enabling technology in the AR glasses teardown will now be affordably priced, effectively bringing down the overall cost of consumer AR glasses,” said Lumus CEO Ari Grobman in an interview. “Quanta has suggested that full AR headsets would be priced for less than the cost of a high-end cellphone. That’s a big deal.”