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Foxconn to See More MacBook Orders From Apple in 2018 Despite No Major Upgrades to Line-Up Planned This Year

Apple supplier Foxconn could be about to land a large number of additional MacBook orders this year, according to upstream supply chain sources (via DigiTimes). The increase could come at the expense of Quanta Computer, which has been Apple's major MacBook manufacturer in recent years.

Taiwan-based Foxconn has reportedly been working to boost its chances of notebook orders from Apple by offering attractive quotes, while Apple has not majorly upgraded its MacBook range since 2016's Touch Bar MacBook Pros, and is said to have no plan for one in 2018. Apple will therefore switch MacBook orders to Foxconn for models that are already in mass production as a way to save costs and reduce risks, according to the sources.

Foxconn is expected to begin mass shipments to fulfill the new orders in the second quarter of 2018, said the sources. Foxconn and Quanta both declined to comment on their clients or orders. The sources pointed out that Apple started outsourcing the assembly for some of MacBooks' components to Foxconn's plants in Shenzhen, China in the second half of 2017.
Despite the news, Quanta is expected to remain Apple's biggest supplier going into 2018. According to DigiTimes' research, out of 15 million MacBooks shipped to Apple a year, the shipment ratio between Quanta and Foxconn has been at around 8:2 for the past five years. Last year alone, Quanta had a 79.5 percent share and Foxconn took 20.5 percent.

Quanta is said to be looking to other brand vendors to offset the impact of the loss of orders, as it aims for similar growth to the market average in 2018. The Taiwan-based firm shipped 38.7 million notebooks last year, up 5 percent on year, and is currently the largest notebook supplier for Hewlett-Packard (HP), Apple, Acer and Asustek Computer.

Quanta also maintains orders from Apple for Apple Watch, and is said to be teaming up with Israeli-based augmented reality company Lumus to manufacture lenses for smart glasses. It's not clear if Quanta and Lumus are working with Apple on a future AR headset or smart glasses, but it is a possibility as rumors suggest Apple has a wearable augmented reality product in the works.

Related Roundups: MacBook Pro, Apple VR Project
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Apple Reportedly Met With Potential Suppliers of Augmented Reality Glasses at CES 2018

Apple representatives met with suppliers who make the type of parts required to power augmented reality glasses at CES this week, according to Bloomberg News.
During CES, representatives from major players like Apple, Facebook, and Google met with suppliers that make the nuts and bolts required to power AR glasses, according to people familiar with the meetings.
The report doesn't provide any additional details about the meetings, or what was discussed, but it's yet more anecdotal evidence that so-called "Apple Glasses" may one day go from rumor to reality.

Bloomberg News has previously reported that Apple is working on an augmented reality headset that could launch by 2020. An early version is said to have a dedicated display, a built-in processor, and a custom operating system dubbed "rOS" for "reality operating system," but many prototypes are thought to exist.

The early November report said Apple hasn't finalized how users will control the headset and launch apps, but it is supposedly investigating touchscreens, Siri voice activation, and head gestures, likely among other ideas.
Engineers are prototyping a range of applications, from mapping and texting to more advanced features including virtual meeting rooms and 360-degree video playback. The company has discussed pairing the headset with its own version of the App Store, where users would be able to download content, just as they do with the iPhone, Watch, Apple TV and Mac.
At the time, Apple software engineers were said to be using HTC Vive headsets for internal testing purposes, while working on a device similar to an Oculus Gear VR headset that uses an iPhone's display and other hardware.

An augmented reality headset is one of several projects that a team of Apple software engineers are supposedly working on under the umbrella code name of "T288" at the company's offices in Cupertino and Sunnyvale. The same team reportedly worked on Apple's ARKit platform for iPhone and iPad.

Apple CEO Tim Cook, despite repeatedly expressing a profound interest in augmented reality, recently alluded to any headset being at least a few years away during an interview with The Independent.
Today I can tell you that the technology itself doesn't exist to do that in a quality way. We don't give a rats about being first, we want to be best in creating people's experiences. Something that you would see out in the market any time soon would not be something that any of us would be satisfied with.
Apple's acquisitions of augmented reality headset maker Vrvana and eye-tracking company SensoMotoric Instruments could certainly help it build a headset, but we likely still have a few more years to wait until we see any finalized product, and there's still a possibility the project is canceled at some point.

Related Roundup: Apple VR Project

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Apple Supplier Quanta Computer Teams Up With Lumus to Make Lenses for Augmented Reality Smart Glasses

Apple manufacturing partner Quanta Computer has teamed up with Israeli-based augmented reality company Lumus to manufacture lenses for smart glasses, reports Bloomberg.

Lumus designs displays for AR glasses and will use Quanta for manufacturing purposes. In an interview with Bloomberg, Lumus CEO Ari Grobman said Quanta, which led a $45 million investment in Lumus in 2016, will also be able to produce AR lenses for other tech companies.

Totem headset from VRvana, the virtual reality company Apple recently purchased

The partnership will result in more affordable lenses for wearable augmented reality products, lowering the overall cost for future products. "Quanta has suggested that full AR headsets would be priced for less than the cost of a high-end cell phone. That's a big deal," Grobman told Bloomberg.

It's not clear if Quanta and Lumus are working with Apple on a future augmented reality headset or smart glasses, but it is a possibility as rumors suggest Apple has a wearable augmented reality product in the works.

The latest rumors indicate Apple is developing an AR headset with a dedicated display, a built-in processor, and a reality operating system called "rOS." Apple is still in the prototyping phase and is exploring different input methods like touch panels, voice activation, head gestures, and more, and it is exploring the types of applications where such a product could be used.

Apple has an aggressive timeline for its augmented reality headset and is aiming to finish development by 2019 ahead of a 2020 release, but there could be delays and changes to the product as work continues.

Related Roundup: Apple VR Project

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Apple Bought Augmented Reality Headset Company Vrvana

Apple recently purchased Vrvana, a company that developed an augmented reality headset called Totem, reports TechCrunch.

Two sources with knowledge of the deal confirmed the acquisition, but Apple declined to comment and did not provide its usual acquisition statement. TechCrunch says Apple did not deny the story, though, and several employees who were previously with Vrvana are now with Apple.


Apple is said to have paid $30 million for Vrvana, and the deal may have taken place this summer. Vrvana's website is still up and running, but social media accounts ceased updates in August.

Vrvana developed a sort of mixed reality headset called Totem, which was never released. It was designed to combine both augmented and virtual reality technologies in a single headset, merging full VR capabilities with pass-through cameras to enable screen-based augmented reality features.

Essentially, Totem used a set of cameras to project real world images into its built-in 1440p OLED display, a somewhat unique approach that set it apart from competing products like Microsoft's HoloLens, which uses a transparent display to combine virtual and augmented reality. With Totem's approach, much richer virtual experiences were available, as full VR objects could be combined with a real-world view.

The built-in cameras were used to track the device's position in space, and additional infrared cameras were used to detect a user's hands. Several media sites were able to check out the Totem last year, and it received largely positive reviews.

Totem's technology could be built into a future Apple device, as multiple rumors suggest Apple is working on some kind of augmented reality headset or smart glasses product.

Apple is said to be building an AR headset that features a dedicated display, a built-in processor, and a new "rOS" operating system. The company is aiming to finish work on its augmented reality headset by 2019, and a finished product could be ready to ship as soon as 2020, should the project progress on schedule.

While Apple has acquired other augmented reality companies like Metaio, Faceshift, Flyby Media, and SensoMotoric Instruments, this is the first dedicated AR/VR headset hardware company Apple has purchased, signaling a deep interest in developing some kind of AR/VR wearable device.

Related Roundup: Apple VR Project

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Supply Chain Hints at Apple Releasing Augmented Reality Headset No Later Than 2019

Taiwanese manufacturer Quanta Computer, a primary assembler of the Apple Watch, has revealed that it is working on an augmented reality product for an undisclosed company that some industry observers believe is Apple.

Google Glass Enterprise Edition

Quanta's vice chairman C.C. Leung suggested the device will be a "headset-like gadget with a fully transparent lens that allows users to see through and interact with the environment," according to Nikkei Asian Review.

"Currently, we see such a device available in the market no later than the year 2019," he told reporters after the company's earnings conference.

Leung noted that if an augmented reality device could carry a price tag lower than $1,000, it would likely become a hit in the market, although it is unlikely he has any knowledge of Apple's pricing plans if they even exist yet.

Quanta is the second Apple supplier to mention involvement with an augmented reality product after fellow Taiwanese company Catcher Technology said it has been tapped to supply parts for an undisclosed wearable device.

Bloomberg was among the first to report on Apple's work on an augmented reality headset. It said Apple aims to have the technology ready by 2019, and could ship a finished product as early as 2020, which is a slightly longer timeline.

The headset's custom operating system, based on iOS, is reportedly dubbed "rOS" for "reality operating system."

Apple hasn't finalized how users will control the headset and launch apps, but it is investigating touchscreens, Siri voice activation, and head gestures as it creates prototypes, the report said.

Apple CEO Tim Cook alluded to any headset being at least a few years away during a recent interview about augmented reality.

"Today I can tell you that the technology itself doesn't exist to do that in a quality way," Cook said. "We don't give a rats about being first, we want to be best in creating people's experiences. Something that you would see out in the market any time soon would not be something that any of us would be satisfied with."

Cook has repeatedly expressed a "profound interest" in augmented reality, which he favors over virtual reality. Apple's ARKit platform on iOS 11 enables developers to integrate augmented reality features into iPhone and iPad apps, potentially laying the foundation for what's to come.

Related Roundup: Apple VR Project

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