Apple is rumoured to be working on a wearable device similar to the now-defunct Google Glass, with a launch set for 2018.
Bloomberg News has heard that Apple is still in the "exploration phase" of face-worn wearables, but has already started ordering small quantities of near-eye displays from one supplier.
The as yet unnamed device will connect wirelessly to an iPhone and show images and other information in the wearer’s field of vision, according to the report, and may use augmented reality (AR).
Apple hasn't been shy about its ambitions to get into the world of AR, and the firm is no doubt under pressure to move into new areas as iPhone and iPad sales continue to stall, which recently led to the firm posting its first fall in revenue since 2001.
Apple CEO Tim Cook told analysts earlier this year that AR has more potential than virtual reality.
"AR can be really great, and we have been [investing], and continue to invest, a lot in this. We are high on AR for the long run. We think there are great things for customers and a great commercial opportunity," he said.
The firm has also acquired a number of startups from the AR sector, including PrimeSense, a real-time motion firm whose technology had been used in the latest Star Wars films, and Metaio, a company that made SDKs and toolkits that help to create AR apps.
However, Cook claimed previously that Google Glass has no mass appeal, saying: "There are some positives in the product. It's probably likely to appeal to certain markets. The likelihood that it has broad appeal is hard to see."
Still, if the rumours turns out to be true Apple's glasses will launch in 2018 "at the earliest", but Bloomberg noted that the firm may struggle to source chips, batteries and other components that are small enough to power a slim wearable capable of delivering AR experiences.
Bloomberg received the usual "no comment" from Apple, but pointed out that the firm has been known to change or cancel projects without discussing them.
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