Will Apple’s headset push AR forward?

Many people mistakenly think AR is nothing more than VR’s gimmicky cousin. But in reality, AR promises to revolutionize the way we live our lives to an extent unmatched by its flashier relative. That’s because the goal of AR is to one day replace our smartphone interfaces with a holographic overlay on top of reality. Whether it’s headsets, wall-mounted beams, or even advanced contact lenses, many futurists point to AR as the next logical step beyond the strained neck that smartphone users will be living with in 2022.

With Apple’s AR-optimized “mixed reality” headset imminent, here’s a look at the history of AR, the state of technology today, and consider some of the implications for what Apple will do to break into the industry. .

The latent potential of AR

Think of the photo, you’re walking down the street when you take a wrong turn – luckily you’re wearing your AR device and asking it via voice command to lay out directions to your sight to your destination. Or maybe you’re considering a match day at halftime, use your AR display to get an overview of the odds of each player scoring a touchdown, and check out the free bets offered by sportsbooks like Caesars Sportsbook or a number of other providers listed in the comparison platforms such as OddsChecker. Maybe you’re in an art gallery and you find a striking painting by a little-known artist and use your AR display to throw up a Wikipedia article about the painter.

These are just some of the future use cases that futurists consider when they think about what a daily AR experience would look like. You will find that these are all things that people do very naturally with their smartphones, AR just cuts out the middleman. By superimposing information directly on reality, this technology can also provide meaningful context that a smartphone alone cannot.

Early examples of AR headsets

These ideas are nothing new, in fact some of the use cases mentioned above were already implemented in 2014 when Google launched its ambitious and forward-thinking prototype AR glasses, Google Glass. Launched at a time when smartphones were still on the rise, few saw Google Glass as more than an intriguing concept.

But in 2022, with Meta investing billions in the metaverse, VR and its subsidiary headset developer Oculus, AR is undergoing a timely reappraisal. Since Google Glass quietly faded into the background, Microsoft has been the leading organization in the pursuit of a viable AR headset with their HoloLens project. Now in its second generation, HoloLens is absolutely impressive. Although unfortunately, like many proof-of-concept products, its use is largely limited to technical demos demonstrating its potential uses.

Niantic and AR Gaming

To find the greatest success story in AR of the past decade, we must instead turn to an app developer called Niantic. Niantic, more than any other developer, has tried to put AR gaming on the map. They launched Ingress in 2012, a game where players can choose to join one of two rival teams who then have to compete for control of real-world locations.

The game built a limited but loyal fan base, who loved plotting popular landmarks in their cities and local areas in a global simulated turf war. However, it would be the studio’s second major title to receive widespread critical acclaim and recognition, definitively bringing AR gaming to the attention of the general public.

pokemon Go – AR goes mainstream

We’re talking, of course, about Pokémon Go, the viral sensation and global phenomenon from 2016 that had 250 million monthly active players at its peak and continues to have a strong player community today. Pokémon Go differed little in essence from Niantic’s previous game, but the addition of one of the most successful and recognizable IPs of the 21st century ensured the game’s success and organic distribution.

In a practical sense, Gaming argued for how augmented reality could bring elements of the real world together with a digital overlay in entertaining and immersive terms. But so far, many argue that the genre’s potential remains largely untapped without the integration of dedicated headsets.

What Apple’s headset means for technology

The fact that Apple is now pushing AR of all companies is of enormous importance. We’ve seen time and time again, starting with the introduction of the iPhone, to innovations ranging from TouchID and borderless displays, that the industry typically follows trends set by Apple.

As such, the prospect of Apple pushing AR in a world where VR is seen as the dominant driving trend is remarkable. Developers seize the opportunity to develop for Apple products first – this is because the public is locked up and prosperous, and the hardware and software experience is much less fragmented compared to Android. The main thing holding back the proliferation of mobile apps in the years leading up to the iPhone 3G’s release was massive development on a single platform.

We can see that AR is currently in a similar position, and it follows that with the release of Apple’s upcoming headset, widespread developer interest will turn to the emerging technology, validating it and demonstrating its widespread use to the general public.

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