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'Apple Glass' could display comparison information for shoppers

"Apple Glass" may enable product comparison features

If you can't decide between two items in a store, you may be able to hold them side by side and have "Apple Glass" display a rundown of the benefits of each.

We've all stood in supermarkets trying to do unit pricing, figuring out whether the larger pack is actually better value than the smaller one. It's in the interests of all retailers to make that comparison at least hard enough that we don't bother, and preferably to make it more likely for us to buy whichever costs more.

Now just wait a minute, says Apple. In a newly revealed patent application, Apple proposes a system where a device like "Apple Glass" could step in to help.

"Product Comparison Techniques," credited to Golnaz Abdollahian and Earl M. Olsen, points out that sometimes key information is simply not there. This can be because of food standards issues, or it can just be that the cooking instructions, for instance, are on the part of the packaging you can't see without opening the pack.

"Comparing information about two similar products may require piecing together information from disparate labeling on the respective product packages," says Apple. "Sometimes, more detailed information about the product are not physically available on the product packaging (e.g., ratings or instructions for use)."

Consequently, Apple is proposing a way of "providing product information." Hold two items close enough together, and that movement will trigger "Apple Glass" to find and display information.

"The appearance of a first product and a second product is detected within a field of view of one or more image sensors," continues Apple. "If the movement of the first product or the second product relative to one another causes the first product to come within a threshold distance of the second product, then comparison information is displayed at a location at least partially between the first product and the second product."

"Apple Glass" could display pop-up details about one product, or a comparison between two

Say you're faced with two or more items that are extraordinarily similar — for instance, the iPhone 12 mini, iPhone-12, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max. "Apple Glass" could display a specification sheet, a rundown chart, or even a Top Trumps-style comparison listing.

Abdollahian has previously worked on how to position virtual objects, such as this kind of list, next to real-world items. And Olsen has prior work on using digital assistants to help navigate through AR and CGR environments.