Apple is betting on augmented reality

Photo; Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images

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Apple is still searching for another successful product that can diversify its revenues, since its profits still rely largely on iPhone sales.

Recent 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:

  • 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.
  • Adding hardware like 3D sensors to iOS devices. Apple bought Primesense, which builds similar hardware, back in 2013.
  • Providing a platform for developers to build AR apps on top of Apple’s AR hardware and software.
  • 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.

But where is it all going?

BI Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, has compiled a detailed report on virtual reality content that examines how various VR headset categories will shape VR content development and looks at the trajectory for mobile gaming revenues to get a sense of how spending on VR content might develop. The report also lays out what types of content users and developers can expect on VR platforms, including gaming, video entertainment, and advertising.

Here are some key takeaways from the report:

  • VR headset manufacturers are driving both the development and distribution of VR content by investing significant technical and monetary resources in developers, in an effort to build up an exclusive content library.
  • High demand for VR headsets by mobile and console gamers will fuel demand for VR content. The VR content market will take an increasing portion of the mobile gaming software industry.
  • Beyond gaming, VR video entertainment will remain short form until demand for VR headsets increases.
  • Ads featured on VR headsets will likely have higher view-through rates than standard video ad spots.
  • Other industries are also beginning to experiment with VR content. Travel companies, publishers, e-commerce merchants, and social platforms are beginning to see potential in this new category.
  • VR content faces major hurdles that could keep developers from investing: The VR experience must be good enough for people to take up the devices. In addition, developers need to know that a sufficient user base exists to be worthy of the resource investment in VR content.

In full, the report:

  • Provides a breakdown of each type of VR headset, what platforms they run on, and how content will differ for each.
  • Includes estimates for global VR headset shipments by category.
  • Includes a mobile gaming forecast to give a sense of the most important market that will drive spending on VR content in the next five years.
  • Lays out what other industries are developing VR programs.
  • Discusses some of the potential barriers that could dissuade developers from investing in VR content.

To get your copy of this invaluable guide to the VR universe, choose one of these options:

  1. Subscribe to an ALL-ACCESS Membership with BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report AND over 100 other expertly researched deep-dive reports, subscriptions to all of our daily newsletters, and much more. >> START A MEMBERSHIP
  2. Purchase the report and download it immediately from our research store. >> BUY THE REPORT

The choice is yours. But however you decide to acquire this report, you’ve given yourself a powerful advantage in your understanding of the world of VR.

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