AR (Augmented Reality) has been around for quite a while now, with the technology appearing in some shape or form since the early 90s. However, when we think of AR now (or VR, MR, XR, etc.), especially from a commercial standpoint, it’s really the 2010s that are significant. Oculus, PlayStation VR, Google Glass, Windows MR, Samsung Gear VR, and so on. Those are great products for gamers, and they should feel even better when new consoles arrive at the end of 2020.
All of Big Tech is interested in the area of AR, and most commonsense predictions say that it will form a huge part of the future of the entertainment industry, impacting everything from the games available at live.casino.com to the way we watch television, as well as changing manufacturing, healthcare and a myriad of other industries. And yet, doesn’t it feel like there is a glaring omission from the AR hardware pioneers? We are, of course, talking about Apple.
Apple embraced AR for iOS
Apple does, in fact, do AR, and it even has a shiny page on its official site extolling the experience of AR on iPad and iPhone. Indeed, there are some smart AR functions compatible with iOS. For instance, Apple has teamed up with IKEA to do a kind of virtual home makeover, so you can see what bits of IKEA’s furniture would look like in your living room. But as for AR hardware, there isn’t much in the cupboard at Apple INC – yet.
Here’s Apple CEO Tim Cook speaking a few years ago: “I think it AR is that big, it’s huge. I get excited because of the things that could be done that could improve a lot of lives. And be entertaining.” Crucially, however, Cook also added, “But there are things to discover before that technology is good enough for the mainstream.”.
Those two statements are key to Apple’s thinking on AR. Basically, it loves the idea of it, but it believes that the technology isn’t quite ready yet. That interview was from 2017, and there hasn’t been much in the way of rumours of any ‘discoveries’ in the interim. Of course, current AR hardware developers would beg to differ, but Apple is probably looking for something that allows them to deliver that wow factor.
Apple smart glasses could be a game-changer
And, here’s what we have at the moment. There are plans for Apple to release its next-generation AR Headset in 2022, followed up by Apple smart glasses in 2023. Those dates are certainly not fixed in stone, though, and you should not be surprised to see them pushed back a bit. Again, it goes back to the desire to deliver that wow factor. Tim Cook, you would guess, wants to stand up in front of a crowd and give a speech with the kind of game-changing product on a screen behind him – just like his predecessor did when announcing the iPhone and iPad.
Indeed, a report in The Verge claimed senior managers at Apple were so confident about the future role of AR glasses that they felt the wearable tech would eventually replace the iPhone. That’s an incredible assertion when you consider the role that smartphones now play in our lives. But to make such a statement, even if off the record, there has to be some basis for it. Nobody is saying that Apple has some sort of secret alchemical process going on in a laboratory and that it will suddenly announce a type of AR that nobody has conceived before, but must be some fundamentals in place for Apple bosses to have that confidence.
If you are a gamer with an interest in AR products, then you too keep an eye on what Apple does over the coming years. As we mentioned, Apple’s big push into AR might be delayed beyond 2022. But when Cook finally appears on that stage, the clues suggest he will be touting something special. Let’s hope it’s worth the wait.