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Apple said to be working on AR glasses with Carl Zeiss

The tech titan is working with the German optics maker to create lightweight augmented reality glasses, according to tech evangelist Robert Scoble.

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Steven Musil is the night news editor at CNET News. He's been hooked on tech since learning BASIC in the late '70s. When not cleaning up after his daughter and son, Steven can be found pedaling around the San Francisco Bay Area. Before joining CNET in 2000, Steven spent 10 years at various Bay Area newspapers.
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Apple is focusing its rumored interest in the augmented reality space on creating a new pair of AR glasses with Carl Zeiss, according to a new report.

The tech titan is working with the German optics manufacturer on a pair of lightweight AR/mixed reality glasses, according to tech evangelist Robert Scoble. The project, which could be announced as early as this year, was confirmed by a Zeiss employee, Scoble wrote in a Facebook post Monday.

Unlike virtual reality, which promises to immerse goggle-wearing users in new and exciting digital worlds, AR overlays images and data atop the real world. The best-known example of AR today is Pokemon Go, in which Pokemon characters appear on players' phone screens amid the streets or parks they're exploring.

Apple's hinted before it was more interested in augmented reality than virtual reality. In September, Apple CEO Tim Cook told ABC News that he saw bigger possibilities for AR than VR, since AR allows people to be more "present."

"There's virtual reality and there's augmented reality -- both of these are incredibly interesting," Cook said in the interview. "But my own view is that augmented reality is the larger of the two, probably by far."

The company has filed several patents with the the US Patent and Trademark Office that deal with augmented reality. For example, an Apple patent application published in 2014 called "Transparent electronic device" envisioned a way of overlaying images over real-world viewable objects.

Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

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