While the term “augmented reality” sounds more science fiction than science fact, the truth is that many of us use or see augmented reality in use every day. Pokémon GO, Google Translate, and those cute little photo filters you find on Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook are prime examples. Augmented reality, or AR, is used each time you place a digital overlay on the real world.
Big Changes to AR
Google made the first big splash in the AR world in 2013 with its Google Glass. Unfortunately, that splash failed to make much of a ripple. The tech failed to take off due to a variety of factors: worries over privacy, an unattractive device, lack of purpose, lack of development, poor marketing, and of course, a huge price tag.
Apple is tackling the AR challenge, and is rumored to have been working on its own AR system for around a decade. Looking at the history of Apple AR is like reading a spy novel: there are secret development groups, code names, and communication hidden within code. Those rumors were laid to rest in 2017 when in an interview with Independent’s David Phelan, Apple CEO Tim Cook stated his belief that AR was going to be the “next big thing.” He said, I view AR like I view the silicon here in my iPhone, it’s not a product per se, it’s a core technology.” Rumors about Apple’s AR goals are no longer “will they,” but “how” and “when.”
Look at Apple’s website and you’ll see AR touted as a current product available on iPhones and iPads since the iPhone 6 in 2014, and iPad Air in 2019. Apple is seeking to avoid Google Glass’s pitfalls in the areas of purpose and development by ensuring uses for AR and available aps are well advertised. They’ve even launched AR design software for the public so that nonapple developers can create their own aps for use on Apple devices. Looking at Apple’s website, you’d think AR was meant only for current Apple tech. And that’s where the rumors begin again.
Rumors About Apple’s AR Gear
Sources have indicated that Apple will be launching its own AR headset. Codenamed N301, the headset is supposed to launch in 2020…or 2022, and will be followed by a set of spiffy glasses in 2023, depending on your source. Rumors also swirl around how the headset and glasses will operate. Some anticipate they will act as an accessory to your iPhone, similar to the iWatch. Others say that the devices will skip smartphones and computers altogether using short range wireless and a “dedicated box” that is not a computer itself, but houses an incredibly powerful Apple processor. All agree that the headset will be released first, then the glasses.
Rumors aside, it’s apparent Apple has decided that AR is its next vehicle for marketplace domination. It’s working hard to overcome the issues that doomed Google Glass. Aps like Pokémon Go make AR mainstream, we think less about whether or not someone may be taking our picture without our knowledge. Creating and supporting software that integrates with engineering, medicine, education, gaming give AR and its devices purpose. Apple has a long history of developing tech that the public finds attractive, and their marketing skills are powerful. Apple users and fans are dedicated, and price is usually not an issue when deciding whether or not to buy. By the time Apple’s headgear hits the market place the public will be primed and ready to purchase – just as it was for the iPod, iPhone, and iWatch. That’s no rumor – that’s a fact.