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Apple Started Working with ‘iGlasses’ as Early as 2006

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Apple is doomed. These three words keep coming back, despite high iPhone 5s and 5c sales, as others such as Google have done something new to impress the tech world (Okay, Glass). Turns out Apple has been experimenting with “iGlasses” since early 2006, but iced the project. Former Apple exec, now Nest CEO, Tony Fadell shares the details.

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Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has already said once that wearable computing represents an interest for Apple, but the company has skipped the glasses and focuses on another part of the body instead (Yes, Glass). Tim Cook’s argument that wearing a glass is mandatory for him is a reasonable argument but there is a tremendous background that he couldn’t share at the time.

For instance, as Fadell points, out speaking with Fast Company, Apple isn’t behind Google in terms of wearable computing, it is the company’s policy not to release half-baked products, which prohibited Apple from releasing the iGlasses. (See what happened with half-baked software: Maps).

In fact, Apple started working on an augmented reality headset as early as 2006. It was the craziest thing in which Fadell was involved, and it was similar to what we have seen Google launching (Yes, Glass, I’m talking about you). But Apple iced the project because it seemed a mere curiosity compared to the iPhone.

“I built a bunch of those prototypes,” said Fadell, who told me that the initial thinking was a face-mounted visor with a built-in screen that would create an immersive entertainment experience–“like you’re sitting in a theater.” The idea was abandoned to focus on the iPod and iPhone. “We had such success with the things we were already doing that we didn’t have time to do anything else,” he said.

Fadell’s comments could give us a hint about how Apple may approach the iGlass product: he and his team have imagined some sort of headset as a new way to consume media, a next generation headphone, which could become your own personal home theater.

Is this something you would jump on when it launches?

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  • FragilityG4

    It’s ironic to see the Hakim Optical ad at the bottom of this post … I still find it hard to see a mass of people run out and drop a grand on a computer you wear in your face. I had to wear glasses to see (thank you LASIK) and I couldn’t stand them. Why in the world would I volunteer to put glasses back on when I have a perfectly good phone? I guess if you wear them like shades, taking them on and off all day, but what’s the point then? Use your phone! Just my opinion.

  • Ron Miller

    I can see some sort of glasses being really cool for gaming or other virtual reality worlds. I absolutely cannot see myself ever wearing them all day nor can I see myself wanting them as a computer / smartphone replacement. Google glasses have absolutely no appeal to myself.

  • Al

    I think such a device can have a practical purpose, but I see it as being too impractical (silly) for regular use.

    I, and probably every band/orchestral musician on the planet would LOVE something like this to read music from. Some of us (as well as some entire bands/orchestras) are switching from sheet music to iPads.

  • johnnygoodface

    iGlasse won’t work… ever! Indeed who will agree to be either filmed without our consent or speaking with someone always distracted by looking at his screen all the time!.. I WILL SAY NO, take off your glasses if you wanna talk to me… Apple got that, Google hasn’t… yet. They should quietly shut down this hole project before putting too much money into this

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