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Apple said to be developing next-gen 'privacy glasses' and new Face ID for 2022

Apple patent depicting the company 'Privacy Eyewear'
(Image credit: Apple / Patently Apple)

Apple is said to be working on a pair of high-tech glasses that could prevent strangers from peeking at your iPhone's screen. 

According to PatentlyApple the California tech giant has filed a US patent for "Privacy Eyewear", a pair of smart specs that displays the contents of an iPhone to the wearer – and the wearer only.

But how does the tech work? Apple doesn't go into detail, but when a user requires privacy they can "intentionally blur the graphical output" of their iPhone. The glasses would then act as a kind of 'key' to "vision-correct" (un-blur) the screen. Clever.

Apple is tipped to launch its first mixed reality headset in late 2022, alongside the iPhone 14, so it's possible the company could integrate the privacy feature into its high-tech headgear (dubbed 'Apple Glasses').

PatentlyApple's report also reveals that Apple is preparing a next-gen version of FaceID that would be capable of distinguishing all the unique features of a user's face, including their beard, hairstyle and glasses. 

Of course, Apple typically files more than a thousand patents a year and a good many end up gathering dust, so there are no guarantees here. Still, there's a lot of interest in smart eyewear at the moment: last month Anker Soundcore unveiled its first ever audio glasses; while Facebook recently teamed up with Ray-Ban to announce a pair of smart glasses with built-in cameras and microphones.

Whether you think them creepy or cool, it looks as though smart glasses may be about to become big tech's next big obsession.

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Tom has been writing about tech for 17 years, first on staff at T3 magazine, then in a freelance capacity for Men's Health, ShortList, The Sun, The Mail on Sunday, The Daily Telegraph and many more (including What Hi-Fi?). His specialities include mobile tech, electric cars and video streaming.