What it is: Apple recently hired augmented reality expert Jeff Norris from NASA.
You an always tell the direction Apple is heading by who they hire. Apple’s most recent hiring is Jeff Norris, an augmented reality expert who had previously worked at NASA, developing augmented reality uses for astronaut training. Curiously, Jeff Norris worked with Microsoft’s HoloLens to demonstrate augmented reality uses with a headset.
That gives a big clue on how augmented reality can be used. for occasional use such as looking up businesses or street names, augmented reality can work fine on an iPhone where you pull out your iPhone, point it at a building or street, and view the overlaid information. When you’re done, you put the iPhone away.
Hands-free augmented reality is best for continual use such as training. That’s where an augmented reality headset or eyeglasses would come in handy for extended use. That means augmented reality won’t just be confined to a headset or limited to mobile device like an iPhone, but capable of excelling in both types of situations. For long-term, hands-free use, augmented reality will need a headset. For short-term occasional use, augmented reality will work just fine on an iPhone or iPad.
This means that while most of the world is busy focusing on headsets for virtual reality, Apple is far more likely to be developing augmented reality for both the iPhone/iPad and smart glasses as well. One huge drawback with virtual reality headsets is the clumsiness of putting them on and having a device wrapped around your face, blocking your view of the world around you. True smart glasses would need to be smaller and lighter, while letting you see the world around you while also seeing augmented reality overlaid on the lenses in front of your eyes.
Smart glasses must be inconspicuous and light weight so people can use them easily. Today’s virtual reality headsets are simply too bulk for ordinary purposes, but smaller, lighter smart glasses will be far easier for people to use and wear.
The future is augmented reality and augmented reality will come in two types:
- On mobile devices like the iPhone and iPad
- On a dedicated headset/glasses
After apple’s acquisition of the German augmented reality company Metaio, they already had augmented reality ready to go for mobile devices. What’s taking Apple so long to release augmented reality is the desire to develop augmented reality applications for smart glasses as well.
It won’t be enough to offer augmented reality on mobile devices. Apple probably wants to offer augmented reality through smart glasses at the same time so people have a choice on how they want to use augmented reality.
Augmented reality involves more than just overlaying reality with cartoon images. Augmented reality also involves providing the tools for letting others create their own augmented reality images, using location or specific images as triggers to activate the augmented reality image. Refining these developer tools is another aspect that Apple must get right before releasing augmented reality too soon on the public because if people can’t create their own augmented reality images, what good is it?
If you want to plan for a future career, plan on becoming an augmented reality creator. It will involve part programming and part video and graphics editing. The future will be bright for people willing to embrace the future. If you want a bright future, embrace augmented reality, coming to an Apple device soon.