It was only a matter of time until we started to hear more about Apple’s expected expansion into the world of virtual and augmented reality. And of course, the company’s lofty ambitions to move further into the wearable space.

Now, a new report is reporting that Apple is looking to expand its wearable horizon at the same time as entering the augmented reality space with a new set of AR-based smart glasses which connects directly with an iPhone, and displays images and other information to the wearer.

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Citing those always on-hand sources familiar with Apple’s internal plans and product roadmaps, the report is suggesting that Apple has already ordered relatively “small quantities” of near-eye displays to be used within the new wearable.

Ordering a limited quantity would suggest that Apple is currently in the process of doing the research and leg work around whether or not the product is viable starter, and if it would actually have a place in today’s market. Research and prototyping is always the first stage of this process before actual streamlining of the hardware takes place.

Consumers will immediately see the similarities between this type of a product and the Google Glass headset that was first introduced back in 2013, and rightly so. Google took the opportunity to try and push the limits of what was deemed possible by introducing a wearable which used augmented reality in conjunction with voice commands from the user to perform specific tasks without having to dive into smartphone usage. Members of that Glass program were able to do things like check the weather, instantly take photographs, make telephone calls, and even interact with certain third-party app experiences that had been created purely for Glass.

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Google ultimately shelved that product due to privacy concerns, but Apple would clearly hope to learn from any mistakes made by Google in the hope of building something that offered all of the functionality, but solved a number of the issues that Glass faced.

Snap Inc. has recently launched its pair of glasses too called Spectacles for Snapchat. Spectacles are $130 glasses which connects to iPhone or Android and can quickly record 10 seconds videos for sharing them on Snapchat.

As always, just because Apple is prototyping a new product, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will actually make it to market, or if it does, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be anytime soon. With that said, it’s only a matter of time until we expect Apple to arrive in the VR and AR space, so, as they say, watch this space.

(Source: Bloomberg, Top image: Apple Glass Concept)

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