Apple Moves into AR

10 July 2017
10 Jul 2017
3 min read

One of the most intriguing announcements from WWCD came when Apple introduced it’s push into the AR realm, aptly called ARKit. From Apple

iOS 11 introduces ARKit, a new framework that allows you to easily create unparalleled augmented reality experiences for iPhone and iPad. By blending digital objects and information with the environment around you, ARKit takes apps beyond the screen, freeing them to interact with the real world in entirely new ways.

The question becomes why Apple would want to get into AR. Certainly Tim Cook has made mention of AR being the next frontier, but it does seem like a strange strategy when AR consists of holding up a screen to look through. For those who don’t know what AR is, AR is augmented reality. Pokemon Go is probably the most popular example, but there are plenty of examples of AR becoming more and more prevalent.1

This is hardly a revolutionary thought, I think that Apple may be making AR glasses. This then reveals Apple’s strategy: they are trying to create content now to be able to benefit them them. One thing that this allows us to do is then skate to where the puck is going and figure out how we can benefit from the upcoming AR trend. Early on AR will be complementary; it is only later that entire new uses for AR will emerge. While less interesting, we can examine different value propositions for current apps and see how they can use the AR transformation to gain a competitive advantage.

For example, I would love to hold up a mapping application like Yelp and be able to see the reviews of businesses around me in real life. This is definitely the future and would make wandering around the city much more interesting.

AR could also be added to any app with a personal profile. I can be at a networking conference and be chatting with a fellow attendee, and have their LinkedIn information pop up. Same for Facebook, or even a dating profile like Tinder or Ok Cupid at a singles only event.

With AR, games are also much more immersive. Tower Defense games become more engrossing if I can see the towers placed on my kitchen table. With a game like Minecraft, you will be able to build a monument while exploring your house. Similarly, any fighting games where you can see the characters appear and start to fight drags you into the action.

Overall, AR becomes an incredible value proposition for many types of apps, even in these early days of AR Kit. This will only benefit Apple as more and more apps integrate with AR Kit, giving them a massive content advantage when they release their AR glasses.

  1. Some examples include the game Pokemon Go was based off of as well as an app recently featured on Apple’s Planet of the Apps. Always tough when Apple puts you on a tv show and then Sherlocks your app. ↩︎

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