Analyst: Apple has small team working on augmented reality

Google Glass iOS (teaser 001)

Analyst Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray is out with a research note on Monday claiming Apple has a small team working on augmented reality devices to explore the new space in consumer electronics. 

“Based on conversations with industry contacts within the virtual and augmented reality spaces, we believe Apple has a small team working and exploring the augmented reality space,” wrote Munster.

Munster told investors that a product from Apple in the augmented reality space could be a decade away, but that “Apple’s early involvement in the space suggests the company is preparing for the next evolution of computing,” and the fashion focus of the Apple Watch could be an advantage.

“At the core, the group is likely trying to understand a wearable interface that design would ultimately make fashionable/socially acceptable,” writes Munster.

Barrons reports that Munster appeared on CNBC on Monday morning and said that his information suggests Apple is working to develop devices “that don’t have social stigma and also have utility Google Glass doesn’t have.”

We’ve reached out to Apple for comment.

Google Glass is Google’s failed take on augmented reality, a project that Google executives have reigned in to reinvigorate after negativity from analysts and reviewers. iPod mastermind Tony Fadell is now leading the project at Google.

Munster, who’s infamous in the space for his predictions of an Apple television set over the last five years, also chimes in that “based on talking to people in industry, I think it’s pretty clear Apple is working on a TV, and I think time will set us free.”

Munster admitted on CNBC that he’s been off base in his recurring predictions of a TV set over the years, but still believes a television is in the pipeline, following rumors of an Apple web TV service aimed at its current set-top box.

The analyst, who is a managing director and senior research analyst at Piper Jaffray, reiterates an Overweight rating on shares of Apple (AAPL), and a $160 price target. During Monday intra-day trading, AAPL shares sat at 128.33 (up 1.02%).

Source: Barrons