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Will Apple’s AR glasses revolutionize accessibility tech?

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Heard about the optician who got a job at the Apple Store? Not yet, but it looks like you might hear something along those lines as the latest leak claims the company’s long-expected AR spectacles will support prescription lenses.

A new approach to eye care

One of the bigger problems about the idea of AR glasses has always been that in order to use them, one must be able to look through them safely.

That’s more difficult than it sounds, given that around half the world’s population probably uses some form of vision correction; you don’t want people suffering accidents just because they were wearing their digital specs.

To get a sense of the numbers, the Vision Council claims approximately 164 million U.S. adults wear eyeglasses. This has been a problem for device makers, who have either sold one-size-fits-all glasses that don’t actually work for half the people, or had to think about creating overlays you wear with existing glasses.

Neither alternative seems to have made any sense to Apple.The latest set of Jon Prosser claims suggest the company has decided to offer its AR glasses as a basic frame, with the prescription lenses costing more.

Apple is looking to charge around $499 for the frames, Prosser posits. It’s not especially surprising that these prices put the company’s offering at the high-end of the frames industry.

The majority of consumers (50.9%) pay between $100-$150 for frames, says the Vision Council, though Apple’s frames will be connected systems that work in conjunction with your iPhone to provide you with AR experiences during your daily life.

It is worth thinking about whether Apple will work with the 43,000 existing U.S. opticians to bring its product to market – or will begin offering its own eye examinations in store.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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