We do not know where Apple is in development with its future Apple Glass, but it is clear that the Cupertino laboratories continue to investigate ways to make these glasses even more useful in our day to day lives. In a recent patent Apple explains a system whereby these glasses could unlock any of our devices just by looking at them.
A transparent unlocking for the user and any device
In a very similar way to what already happens with the Apple Watch and our Mac, the fact that Wearing the Apple Glass would help us unlock our iPhone, iPad or Mac at a glance. The patent It does not refer to the name Apple Glass itself, as you might expect, but in patent language we can clearly read it between the lines.
One aspect of the disclosure is a device-assisted user authentication system. The system includes an authenticated device that the user wears as a head-mounted device, wherein the user is currently authenticated to access a restricted access feature of the authenticated device. The system also includes a proximity device having a locked state and an unlocked state, in which a restricted access function of the proximity device is inaccessible to the user in the locked state, and the restricted access function of the Proximity device is accessible to the user in the unlocked state. The authenticated device is operable to detect the nearby device, determine the user’s intention to access the restricted access function of the nearby device while it is in the locked state, and issue the authentication data. Based on the authentication data, the proximity device identifies the user as an authenticated user and enters the unlocked state from the locked state, so that the user can access the restricted access function of the proximity device.
The text is quite extensive, typical of patents, but the key part, in addition to the “head-mounted device”, is that the system would rely on proximity to decide when it should and is safe to unlock a device. Here it is to be expected, therefore, that future Apple Glass have a U1 chip or equivalent that provides the glasses with spatial awareness necessary to complete the task.
At the same time the patent invites us to think about the authentication system of the same glasses, one that will surely lock the device when we remove it from the head. Thus, when we put them on, either through a code or the use of our iPhone, for example, we give the first access and use it as accreditations in the rest of our devices.
In the text, Apple also provides a double security system to prevent a device from being unlocked without our wanting it. Similar to how Face ID and attention detection already work, Apple Glass may require a spatial orientation with respect to the specific device to unlock, a voice command, a hand gesture, an eye gesture, or a certain movement for the unlock to take place.
Although it is now that we know the existence and content of this patent, Apple applied for it in April 2019, which indicates that the development of Apple Glass has been underway for a long time. It is clear that Apple plans a revolution in wearable technology with these glasses, ones that could, perfectly, arrive this year 2021.