Apple's iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X to kick off mainstreaming of augmented reality

Toss in iOS 11 and ARKit and Apple is about to set off a developer race to create consumer and business augmented reality apps.

Apple may just give augmented reality apps a boost with new iPhones, iOS 11 Apple has been quietly showing off ARKit apps and as its new iPhones launch the company will instantly add millions of new AR-capable devices to the field. Now there is Android and Google has a developer army, but the fragmentation of the mobile operating system and device diversity means it can't flip a switch on AR adoption. Apple has that switch. Rest assured that as Apple talks hardware specs, dual cameras and snazzy new iPhones for the 10th anniversary of the device the company also has an eye on killer apps. Why will Apple give AR a boost? First, the company has a unified base so it can enable devices with an OS update and device launch. Developers know they make money with Apple and the customer base monetizes well. Developers who were early to the AR and VR bandwagon haven't profited. AR has a big business use case and Apple dominates in the mobile enterprise. As a result, look for AR apps from the likes of Ikea on the consumer side and companies like IBM, SAP and Accenture on the business side. There are multiple industries that could make good use of AR. Oracle is already looking to integrate it into its apps.

The launch of Apple's iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and likely iPhone X may wave the starter's flag for augmented reality developers with a bevy of apps to follow.

Apple has been foreshadowing a move into augmented reality with ARkit, a software developer's kit unveiled at WWDC, and a preview of some handy apps this month.

The Apple iPhone 8 event will be the third installment of the company's augmented reality push and there are a few key reasons to believe that AR will become mainstream. Among the key items to know:

  • Apple's iOS 11 will be rolled out broadly with new iPhone and the company doesn't have the fragmentation that has hampered previous AR efforts.
  • Developers make money with Apple and have been burned with experiments with AR and VR elsewhere.
  • iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X are expected to create a big upgrade cycle for Apple. There are a bevy of iPhone 6s devices in the field.
  • The combined installed base creates a ready-made AR audience for new applications on the consumer and business fronts.
  • And these AR efforts aren't going to require headsets or new hardware beyond the iPhone.

Let's be clear: Apple's iPhone event circa 2017 is all about the hardware. The broader ramifications, however, are likely to be about augmented reality. Apple just started the real AR race.

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