Jul, 27 2012

When Google finally took the wraps off their Google Glass project, it’s funny how the tech world flipped over the hardware. The augmented reality eyewear was widely considered as innovative, and a first of its kind. Google applied for a Google Glass patent back in 2011 but little did we know that Apple had been hard at work developing something all too similar to Glass, and it could land Google in a bit of legal trouble.

The thing is, Apple’s eyewear actually predates Google’s in terms of granted patents (dating all the way back to 2009), and while it started out as little more than “movie glasses” that were merely meant to display video content from an iPod (not so much a HUD interface like Glass), it’s slowly evolved into something more than simple video glasses.

In a patent application filed just today, Apple’s vision for their “video glasses” has taken a sharp turn down Google street. Their eyewear now includes a headset covering just one eye, showing a heads-up-display (similar to Glass), but 1-ups Glass with Retina-like display resolution. Sound familiar? Yeah, we thought so too. Now take a look at this image from the filing and tell me that doesn’t look familiar.

As usual, the question arises, “Just who is copying who?” Apple seems to have been working on their own version of Google Glass for quite some time now — I’m calling right now, it’s going to be called the iPatch — but Google beat them to the punch, coming out with a working prototype and showing it off for the world to see at this year’s Google I/O. The difference between Apple and Google is that when awarded a patent, only one of those companies litigates, while the other strives to innovate. I think you already know which is which.

[USPTO | Via Patently Apple 1, 2, 3]

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