Whilst the team at Beyond Visuals try to avoid rampant rumour mongering, we do enjoy the increasingly frequent conversations about how a new piece of technology can be a huge game changed for a hobby we're so passionate about. Essentially this means a broader discussion on what we'd like to see, how we think features could be used, and what camera and drone manufactures might be inclined to do with access to a new device. Please note that none of this article is intended as click bait - the ideas listed below are speculation only and may or may not manifest at some point in the future. So what is this piece of tech that we're so excited about? That would be the shiny new piece of kit that is being touted as the 'Apple Glass'.
(Image credit: idropnews/Martin Hajek)
What is the Apple Glass?
According to CNET, the Apple Glass will be an iPhone powered accessory aimed at providing the user with advanced holographic images through VR and AR experiences. Similar to the Apple Watch, it is rumoured that Apple is planning to roll out the Apple Glass to allow developers to create unique experiences for the interface, making use of the LIDAR sensor to enhance the VR and AR applications. Currently, rumoured price for the Apple Glass is around $499, based on the fact that the glasses themselves won't pack any hardcore processing power, relying on the chip set of the iPhone to carry out the bulk of the processing. This means that despite a sleek design, battery life for the glasses should be relatively long, with wireless charging providing a convenient way to top up charge.
Whilst current speculation revolves around everyday use, we're more concerned about how the device could be used to enhance the photographic process - in particular how it would bring an added dimension to droning and aerial photography.
The Apple Glass and Aerial Photography
We're definitely a long way off from this - the Apple Glass is rumoured to be released in early 2022, putting us a year and a half away from actually getting our hands on the device. That being said, if we were drone manufacturers, we'd already be looking at how the current app experience could be adapted to offer drone pilots additional information and features during flight. For drones aimed at aerial photography, such as the Mavic Air 2 or Mavic Pro series, we'd expect some kind of head up display to be made available, with basic information being offered around the periphery of the screen whilst piloting the drone.
Despite the initial excitement and expectation that the Apple Glass will be used in a way akin to the DJI goggles, we think it's unlikely that they'd be able to offer something as immersive as a full on live view. We anticipate that drone makers like DJI and Autel would make an initial foray into Apple Glass applications through an enhancement of the current features of the app, presented in a VR aesthetic. This could mean something like the information available on the current Mavic 2 Pro remote display appearing in the Apple Glass lenses, including things like height, distance, speed, camera info and flight mode.
Taking this a step further the Apple Glass could even be used to show the map view of the drone, providing an additional interface that gives more accessibility to location information than the current user experience of switching between the map and live view by tapping the corner display. This being said, there is one main consideration that needs to be taken into account - battery life. Anything that puts too much of a strain on the potentially limited battery life of the Apple Glass would render the device pretty much useless, especially when you consider that the battery life of some of the top end drones can be from 30 - 40 minutes. For this reason, we'd expect a basic head up display offering the wearer key flight metrics and information to aid flight.
The Apple Glass and FPV Droning
This is probably a no go. FPV droning require low-latency goggles that allow for quick reactions and manoeuvrability - the Apple Glass will not be an FPV product in any shape or form, and anyone who is serious about FPV droning will know this and invest in a proper pair of goggles to pilot their drone with.
The Apple Glass and conventional photography
Last but not least, it's interesting to think about how a product like the Apple Glass could enhance conventional photography. Whilst usage with camera apps like Sony's 'Imaging Edge Mobile' may be limited, most likely restricted to showing camera settings or a basic live view, there is a wealth of opportunity with apps like The Photographer's Ephemeris where the Apple Glass could be used to provide supplemental information on sun and moon movements, key sight lines and star trajectories etc. Ultimately there are apps that already offer an AR view for photographic information, and moving them over to a device like the Apple Glass should be relatively simple.
We're super excited for the possibilities that the Apple Glass will bring to both aerial and conventional photography, and look forward to keeping you updated to the latest news and developments.
See you soon.
The Beyond Visuals Team