How iOS 14 quietly took a big step towards the Apple Glasses

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Squint at WWDC 2020 and it was all about AR

Apple’s annual WWDC keynotes are like an easter egg hunt for tech fans – you don’t always get big hardware reveals, but hidden among all the software announcements is a trail of evidence that collectively reveals a lot. And so it was at WWDC 2020.

On the face of it, this year’s show was all about Apple Silicon, iOS 14 and Craig Federighi’s continually impressive hair. But connect the dots and you’ll clearly see the exciting silhouette of the Apple Glasses.

Naturally, the always-secretive Apple barely mentioned Augmented Reality (AR) explicitly when talking about iOS 14 and iPadOS 14. And as impressive as Apple CEO Tim Cook’s Space Grey glasses were, they weren’t smart (as far as we could tell).

But piece together some of the slightly puzzling individual announcements and the Apple Glasses picture starts to emerge: a spatial audio update for the AirPods Pro, location-based AR tools for developers, ‘App Clips’ that conveniently serve you little pop-ups of digital info, ‘hand pose’ detection in Apple’s Vision framework, and even new 3D icons that look ideal for AR.

There’s no doubt about it – the AR chess pieces are assembling right across Apple’s ecosystem with iOS 14. And like Clark Kent, all Apple needs now is a pair of smart glasses to complete the look.

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