The new iPhone 8 and high-end iPhone X are upon us, and Apple shared a slew of new announcements related to both phones at last week’s World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC). One announcement for both phones stood out above all in my mind. The new iPhones carry new augmented reality (AR) capabilities.
Apple unveiled the iPhone’s AR capabilities with an onstage demo of the phone’s process of mapping a surface and then adding digital assets to that surface. The technology was built off of Apple’s ARKit developer platform, and the AR capabilities aren’t limited to just the latest hardware. They’ll be part of the latest version of iOS coming this fall.
AR for the Masses
AR for the masses is about to happen. Google is planning to have eleven Android phones support Daydream VR (not AR per say), and Google's Project Tango AR support is already available on multiple devices. Apple’s ARKit will be supported on any iOS device that is powered by an Apple A9 or A10 chip, which includes everything from the iPhone 6S to the iPhone SE.
That is a lot of devices in the wild that will be AR-ready once iOS 11 drops later this year.
The emergent technology of augmented reality stops being the tech of early adopters and becomes the early tech of the masses. People won’t have to buy into AR. They already have.
Companies are Getting On Board
That’s exactly why companies including IKEA, Lego and Niantic have already gone in on AR, particularly ARKit. They see a group of customers with the technology for AR already in their hands.
They just need a reason to use it.
Businesses can play that role. AR creates the potential to brands to offer more utility and more entertainment through the devices people are closest to. Now, it’s still the wild west in every sense of the word, but it’s when technology is at its earliest, the novelty is at its greatest. That represents an opportunity to stand out, and the best part is many, many consumers don’t have to purchase any hardware to take part.