Google has quietly released a new firmware update for its optical head-mounted display Google Glass. The update comes amid rumors that Apple could be releasing its own smart glasses soon. 

On Tuesday, Google launched its brand new XE23 update for the Google Glass. This new firmware is automatically downloaded when your Glass is still connected to the internet for some reason. Alongside the firmware, Google also published release notes which listed only two entries: “bug fixes and performance improvements” as well as support for Bluetooth input devices. 

Because Google Glass now has support for Bluetooth connections, the new firmware comes with a built-in manager so users can easily pair and forget wireless hardware, as the case may be. The new firmware comes just a dat after the MyGlass companion app received a mysterious update. It also comes almost three years since the last update (XE22) was launched. 

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It isn’t clear why Google has decided to update its Google Glass and revive its support for the device again. Android Police claims that this could just be a product of someone’s act of kindness to finish and release the “unfinished work” he or she has done for the device. Or, it could also signal the possibility of Google launching a new version of Glass given that Google Assistant is now mainstream and can provide better functionality to smart glasses. 

Speaking of smart glasses, it’s not too far-fetched to say that Google could be reviving its Google Glass product now that Snap has achieved success with its Spectacles and Apple is rumored to be putting out its own pair of smart glasses soon. Ever since Tim Cook has commented on Augmented Reality being the next big thing in the tech industry, there have been murmurs of the Cupertino giant possibly releasing smart glasses that could take advantage of this technology. 

CNBC reported yesterday that Apple may eventually launch its smart glasses for augmented reality, and it would be called iGlass. This is taking in consideration what UBS told its investors that Apple could leverage augmented reality on the iPhone, and this could pave the way for the release of the tech giant’s own smart glasses. 

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“Advanced sensors and camera capabilities will enhance the iPhone; eventually there could be independent hardware offerings, perhaps iGlass,” UBS analyst Steven Milunovich said. “We can imagine a pair of glasses with quintessential Apple design (iGlass), which enable a Hololens-type experience.”

“However, the amount of compute power and sensors required likely pose a serious design challenge. If Apple could find a way to send massive amounts of data from the eyeglasses to the iPhone where the bulk of the compute would occur, the eyewear could have a more attractive design. The issue then becomes how to transfer massive amounts of complex data between devices quickly.”

Milunovich has identified several uses of AR ranging from entertainment and gaming to home improvement and medical diagnostics. Apple’s rumored iGlass is presumed to function by overlaying computer images over the real world. With this, it’s not a stretch to say that its possible applications could be unlimited.