(Pocket-lint) - Apple is definitely working on a headset or a pair of smart glasses.

We know this thanks to leaks about the company talking to parts suppliers at CES 2018 as well as several reports that have claimed the device will launch as soon as next year. Oh, and CEO Tim Cook has even hinted about the project. But, if you needed more proof that Apple plans to deliver a head-mounted display or some sort of smart glasses or headset, look at this new patent application.

Published by the US Patent and Trademark Office, and spotted by Slashgear, it confirms that Apple has imagined a device that appears to be much more lightweight than other augmented reality/virtual reality headsets we've seen from the likes of Microsoft and Facebook-owned Oculus VR. The patent even mentions that those type of headsets can be "bulky", "heavy", and "uncomfortable".

Apple has proposed using a "catadioptric system", which you can find in optical telescopes, microscopes, and telephoto lenses. It uses mirrors and lenses to combine refraction and reflection into one system. As a result, Apple can ditch magnifying lenses, which are used in standard VR headsets, but still make images large enough to see while also reducing the weight of the headset.

The result will be a product that is very slim in design and just as effective as rival headsets. Keep in mind this is just patent, and it may never come to fruition. Check out our rumour round-up for more leaked details about Apple's mystery AR/VR device. It's unclear still what sort of form factor it will eventually take, whether that be smart glasses or a headset. But we'll keep you posted.

Writing by Elyse Betters.