Apple's unified iPhone userbase could help kickstart augmented reality industry

Posted:
in iPhone
Apple's hegemony over its hardware and software platforms could boost not just the company's own augmented reality efforts, but the AR industry in general -- in a way that hasn't been managed by Google so far.




Since only Apple is allowed to build iOS devices, that creates a consistent target for both it and third-party developers, Bloomberg noted. In June the company revealed ARKit, a toolset meant to simplify AR projects for the iPhone and iPad. A number of companies, like Peter Jackson's Wingnut AR, have already demonstrated some early projects.

Consistency also means that users are more likely to update to the latest operating system -- about 86 percent of iOS devices in the wild are running iOS 10 or later. Bloomberg remarked if even half of the billion-plus iOS devices are upgraded to iOS 11, that will create a massive and heretofore unseen market for AR developers.

One catch is that ARKit will only work on products with an A9 processor or better, cutting off units like the iPhone 6 and even the A8X-powered iPad Air 2.

Nevertheless, the situation is an improvement over the state of AR on Android. Despite Google unveiling its Tango toolset as far back as 2014, the company has yet to achieve much traction, something likely attributable to fragmentation. Only 11.5 percent of Android devices are running the latest software, and hardware makers are free to use vastly different camera, sensor, and processor combinations.

Google is looking to cut fragmentation via Project Treble, which should make it it cheaper and easier for phone vendors to deliver software updates, but that won't solve the dilemma of getting companies to use AR-friendly hardware.

Apple marketing VP Greg Joswiak has claimed that developer response to ARKit has been "unbelievable." CEO Tim Cook, however, has the said the company is merely on a "runway" at this point, possibly hinting at the company's rumored AR glasses. That product is likely a year or more away.

In the meantime, this fall's "iPhone 8" may implement a rear-facing laser for both AR purposes and faster autofocus. Some Android phones already use laser autofocus.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 14
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,432member
    One catch is that ARKit will only work on products with an A9 processor or better, cutting off units like the iPhone 6 and even the A8X-powered iPad Air 2.

    Could that mean that Apple has been using their own GPU tech since the A9?
    edited July 2017 robjn
  • Reply 2 of 14
    applesauce007applesauce007 Posts: 1,569member
    Not could or would, but will.
    The question is how can apple monetize this?

    Tools?
    Storage?
    iCloud services?
  • Reply 3 of 14
    boxcatcherboxcatcher Posts: 129member
    Not could or would, but will.
    The question is how can apple monetize this?

    Tools?
    Storage?
    iCloud services?
    App store revenue, at the very least ... plus, HW sales due to an overall perceived value add to the entire iOS ecosystem.

    Anyhow, I feel like I'm still kinda waiting for a legitimately "wow" moment from AR.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 14
    dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 12,504member
    Posted to another thread:

    Visualize, if you will, (pun intended) a service offered by a gym, tanning salon or somesuch where  you enter a small room with tech that creates a complete 3D digital image of your entire body – which Is transferred to your iPhone.

    Later, an app analyzes the digital you to add animation metadata.

    Now, you have a virtual you object that can be included and animated in any virtual scene – maybe with animatable virtual objects of your friends, pets or others...

    The ARKit tech has already been demoed where animated virtual objects can interact with each other!

    We’re just at the Genesis phase of this AR/VR world...


    I think it was Archimedes (besides inventing the spiral screw) who said: “Give me a [virtual] place to stand..."

    edited July 2017 radarthekatwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 5 of 14
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 1,791member
    Not could or would, but will.
    The question is how can apple monetize this?

    Tools?
    Storage?
    iCloud services?

    A new hardware product... AR glasses/goggles. They're putting the pieces in place now. ARKit + AirPlay 2. I'd be willing to bet they're also designing a "W1" like chip for video that will allow for highly efficient, low latency streaming of video to the glasses displays and from the glasses camera back to the iOS device.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 14
    Apple definitely has a hardware and software platform advantage but will Apple be able to leverage that advantage? I think it would be great for instructional applications in schools and such. It will be interesting to see what Apple can do with it. Wall Street certainly doesn't think it will sell more iPhones, so I'm not sure what most people will do with AR or who wants it. What I've seen from ARKit demoes are quite novel to me but I'm not sure how far this AR stuff can go. As long as Apple can get plenty of developers onboard, I'm hoping they'll do things that are really wonderful with AR. Things that are hard for me to imagine. Apple has the means but will it take advantage of those means.
  • Reply 7 of 14
    IronheadIronhead Posts: 22member
    Posted to another thread:

    Visualize, if you will, (pun intended) a service offered by a gym, tanning salon or somesuch where  you enter a small room with tech that creates a complete 3D digital image of your entire body – which Is transferred to your iPhone.

    Later, an app analyzes the digital you to add animation metadata.

    Now, you have a virtual you object that can be included and animated in any virtual scene – maybe with animatable virtual objects of your friends, pets or others...

    The ARKit tech has already been demoed where animated virtual objects can interact with each other!

    We’re just at the Genesis phase of this AR/VR world...


    I think it was Archimedes (besides inventing the spiral screw) who said: “Give me a [virtual] place to stand..."

    You would like living on Solaria.
  • Reply 8 of 14
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    Posted to another thread:

    Visualize, if you will, (pun intended) a service offered by a gym, tanning salon or somesuch where  you enter a small room with tech that creates a complete 3D digital image of your entire body – which Is transferred to your iPhone.

    Later, an app analyzes the digital you to add animation metadata.

    Now, you have a virtual you object that can be included and animated in any virtual scene – maybe with animatable virtual objects of your friends, pets or others...

    The ARKit tech has already been demoed where animated virtual objects can interact with each other!

    We’re just at the Genesis phase of this AR/VR world...


    I think it was Archimedes (besides inventing the spiral screw) who said: “Give me a [virtual] place to stand..."

    There was a video of a hardware robot toy responding to AR objects. That was insane.


    here's some cool videos:

    Overwatch in your room


    BB-8 in the street


    Dancing robot in living room

    Measuring tape

    Inter-dimensional portal


    edited July 2017
  • Reply 9 of 14
    The real problem for Android is deeper than fragmentation. Samsung produces the Gear VR which runs Oculus. And Samsung bundles the Gear VR with their high end phones. 

    As a result, the developers are focused on Oculus as a development platform for AR/VR. With Samsung in the Oculus camp, the developers aren't interested in Android. The android market is far too fragmented and outside of Samsung, no other single manufacturer commands any significant marketshare. So developing for Oculus only makes far more sense as a developer captures not only the Rift but Samsung devices also which are a substantial portion of the non iOS devices in use. 

    Google really hurt themselves by splitting from Samsung. With the speed and rapid development Samsung and Apple are pursuing as the dominant mobile device manufacturers, there really is no way for Google to commoditize the hardware market. 

    As apple embraces AR/VR with the release of ARKit and Samsung's embrace of the Oculus platform, Google is being squeezed out of AR as a platform. 

    Cardboard isn't going to save Google. Google is releasing development tools for the Oculus platform actually. It speaks volumes as to the role Android will be playing in AR/VR. Apple, Samsung and Facebook will be in control of AR/VR. And Facebook won't take too kindly towards Google attempting to compete on that platform with advertising. 

    This is going to get quite interesting actually. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 14
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,398member
    Not could or would, but will.
    The question is how can apple monetize this?

    Tools?
    Storage?
    iCloud services?
    App store revenue, at the very least ... plus, HW sales due to an overall perceived value add to the entire iOS ecosystem.

    Anyhow, I feel like I'm still kinda waiting for a legitimately "wow" moment from AR.
    Even in very rough form, the very simple tape measure app demo I saw was extremely impressive. Just wait until devs have more time with ARKit.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 14
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,677member
    The real problem for Android is deeper than fragmentation. Samsung produces the Gear VR which runs Oculus. And Samsung bundles the Gear VR with their high end phones. 

    As a result, the developers are focused on Oculus as a development platform for AR/VR. With Samsung in the Oculus camp, the developers aren't interested in Android. The android market is far too fragmented and outside of Samsung, no other single manufacturer commands any significant marketshare. So developing for Oculus only makes far more sense as a developer captures not only the Rift but Samsung devices also which are a substantial portion of the non iOS devices in use. 

    Google really hurt themselves by splitting from Samsung. With the speed and rapid development Samsung and Apple are pursuing as the dominant mobile device manufacturers, there really is no way for Google to commoditize the hardware market. 
    Samsung is now supporting Google's Daydream VR. 

    And yes, understood you believe Samsung is King, Apple will be OK,  and Google is Doomed. :)
    edited July 2017
  • Reply 12 of 14
    ben20ben20 Posts: 119member
    This is next big thing! 
    SpamSandwich
  • Reply 13 of 14
    ignominiignomini Posts: 69member
    Somebody has to say it, VR may have some specialized uses, but in the main stream it is little more than a way for pot heads to check out. I wonder what the physical and mental fallout will be from all this. Right now, there are almost no young people coming into the workforce for a first job. I'm hiring retirees part time to fill roles which used to go to high school kids. What are we supposed to do with the next batch of children who will grow up in an even more fake reality than the world of gaming we have now?
    gatorguy
  • Reply 14 of 14
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,398member
    ignomini said:
    Somebody has to say it, VR may have some specialized uses, but in the main stream it is little more than a way for pot heads to check out. I wonder what the physical and mental fallout will be from all this. Right now, there are almost no young people coming into the workforce for a first job. I'm hiring retirees part time to fill roles which used to go to high school kids. What are we supposed to do with the next batch of children who will grow up in an even more fake reality than the world of gaming we have now?
    Thanks to new higher minimum wages going into effect, an entire generation of kids will be unable to get their first jobs which would normally set them on a trajectory toward a career. The Federal Minimum Wage should be eliminated for this reason, in addition to the fact that it's always been an example of unconstitutional Federal overreach.
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