Take the following with a hearty heap of salt, but a newly leaked incident report may further confirm Apple has an augmented reality device in the works.
The report, issued on April 14 by an Environment Health and Safety contractor working on behalf of Apple, was accidentally sent to a few hundred employees before making its way to Gizmodo.
It describes in limited detail more than 70 incidents in which Apple employees had some kind of safety-related issue at work. These include an employee running into a door, someone burning his hand when taking fish out of an oven (likely at an on-campus cafe), a woman feeling lightheaded and employees encountering hazardous materials.
In what sounds like a fairly routine report are a pair of incidents that could point to Apple’s AR product testing: two people experienced eye injuries when using new prototypes.
One person required “medical treatment beyond first aid” after she experienced eye discomfort while using a “prototype unit”.
“After BT4 user study, user advised study lead, that she experienced discomfort in her eye and said she was able to see the laser flash at several points during the study,” the report reads. “Study lead referred her to optometrist and secured prototype unit for analysis.”
Seeing a “laser flash” leads us to think the tester was looking through something when she developed an eye issue, though that’s our speculation.
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In another incident, a second employee “reported eye pain after working with new prototype, thought it may be associated with use.” The prototype in question was potentially tampered with, the report notes.
Gizmodo spoke to a source at Apple who mused the second incident may involve an AR device Apple is possibly testing, though this person didn’t provide any hard evidence. The publication notes the device is “something like glasses with an overhead display.”
Glasses or iPhone 8?
Of course, without knowing what kind of prototype the employees were using, we can’t know for certain it had anything to do with augmented reality, let alone are products worn like eyeglasses or a visor that goes on the face.
It’s even possible the prototypes are versions of the iPhone 8, which is rumored to have augmented reality features.
Months of reports have indicated Apple is working on some kind of augmented reality device, and CEO Tim Cook has spoken on numerous occasions about his preference for AR over virtual reality. He has hinted, however, that the iPhone could be in for augmented reality features rather than Apple develop a brand-new product.
The leaked report provides some back up to the cacophony of clamors Apple is developing an AR device, but it’s likely we won’t see what the tech giant is working on for at least a few more months. It’s next major event is the WWDC 2017 developer conference in June, followed by the expected iPhone launch in September. If Apple is ready to launch its AR device this year, it will likely unviel the product during either of these events.
Let’s just hope it fixes those eye pain problems before that happens.