Apple may not have officially announced its plans for the much-rumored Apple AR/VR headset hardware, but recent patents have seemingly spoiled some of its plans — with the latest teasing a new way to use the Apple Watch to connect a headset. to serve .
How users manage AR experiences is an area that many companies have tried, with some having more success than others. Google’s original Google Glass headsets introduced uncomfortable head vibrations, and the Nreal Air glasses forced you to use your smartphone — a difficult task if you can’t actually see it with the glasses on. The only company to crack it so far is Meta with its Oculus Quest 2 (opens in new tab) AR features that rely on the regular controllers or hand tracking, making for a much smoother experience.
However, Apple has decided to take a different path. Based on a recent patent application (discovered by Patently Apple) (opens in new tab)Apple will seemingly be reinventing the wheel with a setup that relies on a headset wearer strapping on two Apple Watch-like devices — one on each wrist. While not explicitly called Apple Watches, the diagrams look like this: terribly similar to the California tech giant’s smartwatch, complete with touchscreen and Digital Crowns.
Once there’s one watch on each hand, the wearables can use their electrodes to track gestures and different touch points on people’s palms, so they can control what they see on an Apple AR/VR headset.
However, if you’re struggling to choose between two of the best Apple Watch options, don’t take this as your green light to buy both.
First, as with all patents — especially for unreleased hardware — there’s no guarantee we’ll see Apple go down this road with its technology. It might just patent the design before someone else can to keep the options open (or let people sniff the real plans).
Second, there is no guarantee that the Apple Watch 7 or any of Apple’s other currently available smartwatches would be compatible with what this patent describes. Until Apple explains its plans publicly, we may find out that this feature is exclusive to the Apple Watch 8 and later.
Finally, this wearable controller may not have to be an Apple Watch at all. While we expect Apple to allow its smartwatch to be used as a controller, we hope it comes up with a cheaper alternative that works just as well. Based on the patent, the wrist-based device only needs some of the Apple Watch’s features, not all of them — potentially paving the way for a stripped-down (and cheaper) add-on.
We’ll have to wait and see what Apple announces, but with the Apple AR/VR headset not expected until next year, and the Apple Glasses even further out, we can wait a little longer.
Looking for something you can do with your Apple Watch today? These are the best Apple Watch apps of 2022.