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Apple is betting on augmented reality

Apple is betting on augmented realityRecent comments from CEO Tim Cook indicate that Apple may be exploring augmented reality (AR) as the next product that could help it succeed in that goal, Business Insider reported.

Cook, speaking at an event last month, said that he expects AR to eventually become a part of people’s everyday lives, “like eating three square meals a day.” This outlook is consistent with the results of a recent survey by Yeti in which respondents indicated higher levels of long-term optimism for AR than for VR.

Cook also predicted that AR would come to operating systems (like iOS) in the “not-too-distant future,” although he acknowledged that there are still may technological challenges that must be overcome first. Those challenges, Business Insider noted, include:

1. Building AR capabilities into the cameras of iOS devices and the operating systems, so the camera can identify objects in its view, a key first step to enabling AR.

2. Adding hardware like 3D sensors to iOS devices. Apple bought Primesense, which builds similar hardware, back in 2013.

3. Providing a platform for developers to build AR apps on top of Apple’s AR hardware and software.

4. Building an AR-specific product, like an AR headset or glasses that can leverage the AR capabilities in iOS devices.

Apple’s already experimented with AR capabilities in the iPhone, including a feature for Apple Maps that provides an AR view of local listings. However, the first sign that Apple is really serious about AR would be when it starts adding AR hardware and software to a new generation of the iPhone. If it finds that AR is a successful selling point for a new iPhone model, it would incentivize the company to accelerate efforts to build an AR-specific product like a headset.

The tech industry has promoted the prospect of VR for the past few decades. But only now, with headsets backed by big names like Sony and Facebook, is VR finally becoming a concrete product with mass market potential. While VR technology is largely associated with the gaming industry, the platform offers a new set of content opportunities in entertainment, advertising, and more.
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