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Bizarre Apple Glasses patent shows it might just be an iPhone you wear on your face

(not actually the Apple Glasses)
(not actually the Apple Glasses) (Image credit: Shutterstock / Apple)

The Apple Glasses are an intriguing piece of kit that Apple is being rumored to launch in 2021, and now and then published patents show us different ideas the company is looking at for the smart spectacles. 

A new patent, filed in June 2019 and recently published (as spotted by PhoneArena) details ways the Apple Glasses might connect to your iPhone. The original Apple Watch required a paired iPhone nearby to do lots of the wearable's processing, and it seems the Apple Glasses will be the same, although by the looks of the patent this won't be a wireless connection.

While you'd expect an iPhone to pair with the Apple Glasses wirelessly, and while that certainly could still be an option for sending data and images between the two, the images in the patent show ways your iPhone would physically attach to the glasses - and it's pretty bizarre.

By the looks of it, to connect your iPhone to your Apple Glasses you'd have to physically slot the phone into the glass frames, and basically wear your iPhone on your face, in the same manner as early VR headsets that were cardboard boxes you slotted your phone into. That's not exactly the high-tech concept we were hoping for.

This method of connecting the iPhone and Apple Glasses looks incredibly ungainly, especially if you're using a huge iPhone 11 Pro Max or the iPhone 12 equivalent (when that's launched), so we can only presume this is a way of pairing the devices when neither is in use.

Apple Glasses or pipe dream?

(Image credit: Apple)

There's reason to believe that you might actually be able to use the devices when they're paired like this: the patent states 'the method may include detecting a connection with a head-mounted device (the Apple Glasses) that is capable of being worn on the users' head, wherein the connection indicates that the portable electronic device (the iPhone) is operatively coupled and physically carried by the head-mounted device. The method may also include switching to a head-mounted mode on the screen of the portable electronic device'.

So it's possible the Apple Glasses might literally be an iPhone you wear on your face, at least if this part of the patent becomes a reality, although given how daft that would look we'd be very surprised if that was the case.

Patents aren't confirmation of the direction of a product, after all, just a suggestion of what the company is looking at, and if this patent tells us anything it's that the Apple Glasses will need to be paired with an iPhone to work to their full potential -- at least we hope that's the only thing it's telling us, because we really, really don't want to wear an iPhone on our face and look like a character from an 80s sci-fi movie.

If this idea does see the light of day, it may be that this is a way to pair the Apple Glasses with an iPhone, perhaps to set the former up, or charge it, or download lots of information from it quickly. We're not sure when we'll find out, as we've no idea when the Apple Glasses are set to release, but we're certainly curious to see how much of this patent makes its way into the eventual product.

Tom Bedford

Staff Writer, Phones

Tom's role in the TechRadar team is as a staff writer specializing in phones and tablets, but he also takes on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness trackers and more.