Apple is mulling a move into digital glasses, as it looks to expand its product base amid slowing sales of the iPhone, reported Bloomberg.
The device is still in an exploration stage, according to sources, and would not be introduced until 2018 at the earliest, but the company has discussed the project with potential suppliers.
Digital glasses, a potentially lucrative area in wearables, would allow users to connect wirelessly to iPhones, displaying images and other information in its field of vision, while it could also use Augmented Reality (AR) technology.
Bloomberg, however, pointed out that the company regularly tests many different products, and is known to cancel or pause projects without disclosing them.
A move to expand its wearable product base would come after slowing growth of the iPhone, with increased competition in the smartphone space from the likes of Google, and a number of Chinese brands.
Tim Cook, CEO, who is under pressure to deliver new products, is also a known supporter of AR, following the launch of Pokemon Go, the location-based game using the technology.
He has notably moved to beef up Apple’s AR capabilities through acquisitions, including deals to acquire motion-sensing technology maker PrimeSense in 2013, and software start-ups Metaio in 2015 and Flyby Media this year.
The company will however no doubt be wary of the challenges to produce a pair of internet connected glasses that people will actually wear, and would have taken note of rival Google’s struggles in the space.
Google Glass largely flopped because of battery issues, and there was also a poor reception to its design.
Most technology companies, including Google, Facebook and Samsung, have turned their attentions to Virtual Reality (VR), but Cook recently suggested Apple will not follow suit by launching a mass consumer product.
“I can’t imagine everyone in here getting in an enclosed VR experience while you’re sitting here with me, but I could imagine everyone in here in an AR experience right now,” he was quoted as saying in October.