What it is: Augmented reality lets you see imaginary items overlaid on an actual image.
The Pokemon Go video game introduced the world to augmented reality where you could aim your iPhone at the ground and see a Pokemon cartoon character. That game alone showed what augmented reality could do and how easy it was for people to use. When you want to use it, just peer through your iPhone camera. When you’re done, just put your iPhone away. Since many people carry their iPhone around wherever they go, Pokemon Go made it easy to use augmented reality any time you anted.
Compare the convenience of augmented reality with virtual reality. Augmented reality piggybacks on the fact that most people already carry and use their smartphone everyday. Virtual reality requires buying a separate headset.
Augmented reality lets you pull out a smartphone and put it away when you’re done. Virtual reality requires strapping a device to your face and carrying it around just in case you might want to use it.
Augmented reality lets you interact and share your visual experiences with others. Virtual reality isolates you in your own world, completely separate from anyone around you. People can easily use augmented reality wherever they use a smartphone. Virtual reality requires lugging around a headset, strapping it on to completely isolate yourself from your surroundings, and then force you to continue carrying it around when you’re done.
The biggest future lies with augmented reality because its far more convenient and easy to use. Virtual reality is far more cumbersome to use and an added expense to have. This is why Apple keeps promoting augmented reality as the future.
With more interest swirling around augmented reality applications, this will likely be the year that augmented reality finally arrives for the iPhone. Remember, for the past few years, Apple has been quietly acquiring augmented reality companies. The key is molding these various acquisitions into a coherent product not only to make it easy and practical for consumers to use, but also easy for developers to create. After all, augmented reality can’t take off in popularity unless developers can easily create their own augmented reality apps for people to enjoy.
Just as the Web introduced new jobs like web site designer and social media manager, so will augmented reality usher in new jobs like augmented reality designer and programmer. Apple already has the augmented reality technology and tools in place. Now they just have to refine them and provide a strong and compelling reason for people to use it in their everyday world.
One simple example of augmented reality can come from peering through an iPhone at a street and seeing street names along with directions. This can help people navigate through a strange neighborhood as they walk around. Other uses for augmented reality could involve iBeacon, Apple’s seemingly forgotten technology for communicating and navigating indoors. This could allow shoppers in a mall or visitors to a museum to identify where they can use augmented reality to enhance their experience whether it’s to find which stores are offering sales or where to find similar exhibits in a museum that you might enjoy.
Augmented reality is already here. It’s just a matter for a company like Apple to bring it to the forefront of everyone’s attention. With so many companies pursuing virtual reality as the next big thing, they’re missing the greater potential of augmented reality instead. When Apple rolls out augmented reality this year (hopefully), expect the rest of the world to suddenly reshape their own research towards augmented reality as well.
Virtual reality won’t die out completely, but augmented reality is far simpler and far more likely to prevail in the long run. After all, would you rather pull out your smartphone to use augmented reality or would you rather buy a virtual reality headset, lug it around with you in addition to carrying a smartphone, a nd then strap on the headset whenever you want to use it?