No, Apple hasn’t canceled its AR glasses project

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Apple glasses
Apple Glasses could be the next big thing.
Photo: Martin Hajek

Production of Apple’s upcoming augmented reality glasses has supposedly been “terminated,” according to one of the worst sources of Apple rumors on the internet.

A number of websites have taken DigiTimes’ dubious report of the canceled Apple smart glasses as fact. However, after digging into iOS 13’s assets, one of the best Apple sleuths in the world says there’s still a lot of evidence that the AR glasses might come even sooner than expected.

iOS developer Steve Troughton-Smith quipped back at DigiTimes’ report that claimed the glasses are canceled, even though we’ve heard from numerous reputable outlets that the project is still in the works. In one of his tweets, Troughton-Smith showed there are some new frameworks to support an AR Display Device like Apple Glasses.

Just because Apple added AR Display Device assets to iOS 13 doesn’t necessarily mean a launch is close, or that the smart specs will definitely launch. Apple added AirPower assets to early builds of other iOS betas but ultimately canceled the wireless charging mat. It seems unlikely that the company would have included them in iOS 13, though, if the project is already doomed.

The hazy future of Apple Glasses

DigiTimes has a pretty hit-or-miss track record when it comes to rumors about unreleased Apple products. The report claiming the glasses have been terminated is sitting behind a paywall, so we haven’t been able to view the details, but we think it’s very likely to be inaccurate.

In March, trusted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo told Apple investors that the company’s AR glasses are nearing the production stage and should be released in 2020. Pulling the plug on the project right now — when there isn’t any serious competition yet in the AR glasses space — wouldn’t make much sense. At worst, Apple could delay production for a bit.

Apple has been building out its ARKit platform over the last few years, and smart glasses seem like they would be a natural extension for that. Apple’s AR glasses will supposedly be an iPhone accessory and act as a sort of secondary display. The iPhone will handle all of the processing, scene rendering, data connectivity and location services so Apple doesn’t need to strap a computer to your face.