Apple is rumoured to be secretly working on a pair of ‘augmented reality 5G’ glasses that look like ordinary spectacles but overlay digital images onto the real world

  • Leaker and tech analyst reveals alleged details about Apple’s 5G smart glasses 
  • Apple Glasses will pair up with an iPhone or Apple Watch to sense surroundings
  • The ‘slick’ glasses will not be sunglasses and be suited to normal everyday wear
  • The high-end product will come in white and black and could be released in 2021

Apple is working on a pair of augmented reality (AR) glasses that support 5G networks, according to a leaker familiar with the tech giant.

The AR glasses, simply called ‘Apple Glasses’, are not sunglasses but normal prescription glasses that display an interface on the inside of the lens.

Anyone facing an Apple Glasses-wearing user will not be able to see the AR display, which will overlay digital images over the user’s real-life surroundings. 

Leaker and technology analyst Jon Prosser said he saw two prototypes of the Apple Glasses at the company’s premises – one white and one black.

Both models, which are described as ‘clean’ and ‘slick’ in appearance, will be 5G-compatible, he said. 

The product, which could be announced as soon as next year, would work in tandem with Apple’s first ever 5G-ready iPhone, which is due to be revealed this autumn.

Apple has increasingly moved into augmented reality technology. In 2017, it launched AR Kit, an augmented reality platform for developers to create apps and other software using the tech

‘It’s really cool. From the front end, if you’re looking at someone that’s wearing Apple Glasses, and it’s displaying something on the screen, you can’t see it,’ Prosser told the technology podcast Gadget Cast.

‘They look like glasses – they don’t look like heavy machinery on your face, almost exactly what you would expect from Apple.’

Apple Glasses will have its own operating system called ‘Starboard’ according to Prosser , who is an Apple leaker ‘with sources throughout the company and supply chain’, according to Apple Insider.

Either an iPhone or Apple Watch will be needed to set up a pair of Apple Glasses and also help extract sensor data.


Virtual reality is a computer-generated simulation of an environment or situation

  • It immerses the user by making them feel like they are in the simulated reality throughimages and sounds
  • For example, in VR, you could feel like you’re climbing a mountain while sat at home

In contrast, augmented reality layers computer-generated images on top of an existing reality

  • AR is developed into apps to bring digital components into the real world
  • For example, in the Pokemon Go app, the characters seem to appear in real world scenarios

Apple Glasses will have sensors in them, but just for more accurate calibration between CGI and the real world. 

They will be able to take advantage of sensors in Apple Watch and iPhone, but will still work without either in close proximity, according to Prosser. 

Apple Glasses are not sunglasses – meaning they could be marketed specifically towards glasses-wearers unless they come in a version with clear glass instead of prescription lenses.

The idea behind this is that they will act as a back-up device that people are less likely to forget when they leave their house, either as a style accessory or, more vitally, to be able to see.  

The tech giant has long been rumoured to be developing its own pair of smart glasses, following the lead of products such as Microsoft Hololens 2 and Snapchat’s line of ‘Spectacles’.

But making Apple Glasses look more like normal glasses instead of a clunky headset could make them more appealing to the consumer market.

Apple is planning to announce the new specs at an event in March or June 2021, Prosser claims.

This would follow the launch of the company’s first 5G iPhone, the iPhone 12, which is expected to be revealed this October.

Apple is reportedly pushing back the production of its flagship 2020 iPhones about a month. The tech giant has experienced delays due to the coronavirus pandemic that closed its factories in China earlier this year

Apple is reportedly pushing back the production of its flagship 2020 iPhones by about a month due to the coronavirus pandemic that closed its factories in China earlier this year.

Apple has increasingly moved into AR, although it is yet to release consumer hardware dedicated to the technology. 

In 2017, it launched AR Kit, an AR platform for developers to create apps and other software using the tech 

According to an earlier report from The Information that cites sources within Apple, the company is working on two separate pieces of hardware – both an AR headset and a pair of AR glasses.

The headset will toggle between AR and a more immersive virtual reality (VR) and be a similar shape to the Facebook-owned Oculus VR headset. 

The Information report backs up Prosser’s claims that the glasses will resemble high end eyewear, adding that they will have thicker frames capable of housing key technology.

Apple has long been rumoured to be developing its own pair of AR glasses. The tech giant has filed a patent (pictured above) this year that gives a glimpse into what it may be developing behind closed doors

Apple is reportedly considering technology that would darken the glasses lenses when using AR – a feature that would alert those around you that the device’s AR is engaged.

The company is also reportedly considering making its App Store accessible through both sets of hardware.

A recent patent application from the company suggests Apple is considering technology described as a ‘Display Device’ that uses a ‘reflective holographic combiner’.

This holographic technology could more seamlessly blend objects rendered in the headset’s display, increasing the depth-of-field and reducing the resulting eyestrain and nausea often associated with AR and VR.


The company’s journey to the summit of the technology industry has been a rocky one, having seen Jobs (pictured right in 1976) leave the firm in the mid-1980s after his pet project, the first Macintosh computer, struggled and he attempted to oust then chief executive John Sculley. Wozniak is pictured left  

1976: Founders Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne created the company on April 1 1976 as they set about selling computer kits to hobbyists, each of which was built by Wozniak.

The first product was the Apple I. 

1977: Apple released the Apple II in June, which was the first PC made for the mass market. 

1981: Jobs became chairman.  

1984: The Macintosh was introduced during an ad break for the Super Bowl and later officially unveiled during a launch event. It was discontinued a year later and Jobs left the firm.

1987: Apple released the Macintosh II, the first colour Mac.

1997: Apple announces it will acquire NeXT software in a $400 million deal that involves Jobs returning to Apple as interim CEO. He officially took the role in 2000.  

2001: Apple introduced iTunes, OS X and the first-generation iPod.

The first iPod MP3 music player was released on October 23, 2001, at an event in Cupertino and was able to hold up to 1,000 songs.

Steve Jobs unveils Apple Computer Corporation’s new Macintosh February 6, 1984 in California.

The then Chief Executive Officer of Apple, Steve Jobs, with the iPhone

2007: Apple unveils the iPhone. 

2010: The first iPad was unveiled.

2011: Jobs resigned in 2011 due to illness, handing the CEO title to Tim Cook. Job died in October from pancreatic cancer.

2014: Apple unveiled the Apple Watch. It also unveiled its first larger iPhones – the 6 and 6 Plus. 

2015: After purchasing Beats from Dr Dre, Apple launched Apple Music to compete with Spotify and other music streaming services. 

Apple CEO Steve Jobs speaks at an Apple event at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, Calif.

2016: Apple returned to its roots and announced the 4-inch iPhone SE. Meanwhile, the firm is embroiled in a legal battle with the FBI, involving the agency demanding access to the locked phone used by Syed Farook, who died in a shootout after carrying out a deadly December attack in San Bernardino, California with his wife. The court order was dropped on March 28 after the FBI said a third party was able to unlock the device.  

2017: Apple introduces the iPhone X, which removes the home button to make way for a futuristic edge-to-edge screen design and a new FaceID system that uses advanced sensors and lasers to unlock phones with just the owner’s face.    

2018: In a first for the company, Apple introduces new features in its latest operating system, iOS 12, that encourage users to manage and spend less time on their devices. The move was spawned by a strongly worded letter from shareholders that urged the firm to address the growing problem of smartphone addiction among kids and teenagers. 

2019: In January, Apple reports its first decline in revenues and profits in a decade. CEO Tim Cook partly blamed steep declines in revenue from China.

2020: In March, Apple closes all its bricks and mortar retail stores outside of China in response to coronavirus. 

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