Apple Glasses Digital Crown | Patent drawings with concept image

A newly-granted patent published today for an Apple Glasses Digital Crown design clearly shows a device very much along the lines of what we’re eventually expecting to see, as the company moves its AR wearables ambitions beyond bulky headsets.

The illustration shows how a Digital Crown could be used to cycle through different overlays available on the glasses, ranging from video content to weather data …

What we think we know about Apple Glasses

Apple’s first wearable mixed-reality device is, of course, Vision Pro. While the design is particularly sleek, and the virtual eyes designed to make it a friendlier experience for people around us, the overall form-factor is very much in line with other headsets out there.

Apple’s long-term goal is believed to be a product dubbed Apple Glasses, a wearable that looks somewhat like conventional prescription eyeglasses, and can overlay augmented reality content like Apple Maps directions and notifications.

While dates as early as 2026 or 2027 have been suggested, my view remains that this is wildly optimistic.

Apple Glasses are currently a moonshot project. Making them do all the things expected of them, in a device that has all-day battery life, which has a form factor similar to prescription eye-glasses, and is affordable enough to be a consumer product (even an Apple one), is a massively ambitious project. One that was always going to take many years: It was never likely to follow on in quick succession to [what we now know as Vision Pro].

Google has reportedly given up on its own efforts to develop something similar, and Xiaomi’s prototype attempt is still a million miles away from anything Apple would ever release. Creating something which would meet Apple’s combination of aesthetic and functionality standards is a very tough challenge indeed.

Apple Glasses Digital Crown

One of the many challenges is the user interface. Apple has borrowed the Digital Crown concept from the Apple Watch to allow users to blend real-world and digital content in the Vision Pro, and today’s concept image shows how the UI device could also be used to select content in Apple Glasses.

The patent itself is an extremely broad one, outlining a wide range of control methods for use with head-mounted devices. But one of the patent illustrations is unmistakably what we refer to as Apple Glasses, and what the patent text refers to as “smart glasses.”

FIG. 8A shows a side view of an operation of an HMD. Again, as used herein, the term HMD can include smart glasses.

It notes that eye-tracking could be one method of control, while the Digital Crown (labelled as 820 in the drawing) can be another.

For example, input by a user’s finger 824 at the input device 820 can cause the applications 805 to move or change. The input at the input device 820 can be a swipe, a rotation, a tilt, or combinations thereof.

Of course, our standard disclaimer applies: Apple patents a huge range of things, of which only a tiny fraction ever make it to market. But it’s certainly reasonable to believe that Apple Glasses are the company’s long-term vision for augmented reality, given the commitment it has demonstrated through the launch of Vision Pro as a first-gen mixed-reality product.

Concept image: Angelo Libero Designs

Add 9to5Mac to your Google News feed. 

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

Apple Glasses Digital Crown shown in newly-granted patent – 9to5Mac

[ For more curated Apple news, check out the main news page here]

The post Apple Glasses Digital Crown shown in newly-granted patent – 9to5Mac first appeared on

New reasons to get excited everyday.

Get the latest tech news delivered right in your mailbox

You may also like

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

More in Apple