We’ve reined in some of the initial excitement about glasses-based AR, at least in terms of its time horizon to consumer ubiquity. The technology isn’t there yet. But in the meantime, the AR world is keeping itself busy, as we discuss in the latest ARtillry Brief (video below).
Beyond specs (battery life, FOV), the thing missing from AR glasses is a form factor that’s sleek (and cheap)-enough to sway consumers to get over a key point of friction: personal style. As we discussed recently with Presence Capital, that concern goes away in enterprise contexts.
But focusing on consumers for now, the bar is high for anything people are going to put on their face. The good news is that the stepping stone — or gateway drug as I like to call it — is mobile AR. That addressable market isn’t the low-millions of headsets, but 2.6 billion smartphones.
Of course those aren’t all AR compatible in terms of optical components. But they will be over the next few replacement cycles, and as Google Tango grows its hardware compatability. But that’s what makes ARkit brilliant: Among other things, it achieved depth-sensing AR through software.
It has democratized what we often call True AR: SLAM-based graphics that have dimensionally accurate interactions with physical objects. ARkit did that by not only achieving area mapping and depth sensing through software, but also scaled it up by putting it into the hands of developers.
The third move in that attack combination is more AR-capable hardware this fall. Then Apple’s vertically-integrated hardware/software waltz commences. Meanwhile, ARkit is compatible with 380 million existing iPhones as we recently calculated, reaching 500 million by year end.
Looking forward, we can expect a lot of cool stuff as iOS 11 and a new iPhone roll out. But more impactful will be years of third-party innovation with ARkit. That could rival in creativity and impact, the growth of the app economy itself, kicked-off ten years ago with the first iOS SDK.
See the latest ARtillry Brief below for more.
Disclosure: ARtillry has no financial stake in the companies mentioned in this post, nor received payment for its production. Disclosure and ethics policy can be seen here.