Augmented Reality is more practical than VR
A couple of years ago VR (virtual reality) was a huge thing - mostly because of big advancements in both resolutions and lower latency so it finally wasn't making people throw up. But aside from games or virtual tours there isn't really a lot (yet) to it and it's uses are confined to our homes and offices.
Augmented Reality (AR) isn't new. Map point overlays on the camera view existed as far back as iPhone 3GS, but recent advancements done by Microsoft (holo lens) and then Apple (AR Kit) are making it a lot more powerful and a lot more useful.
The first big AR revolution was Holo Lens - a Microsoft headset that added virtual elements to our real world and "stuck" them in place, so you could walk around something standing on your floor as if it's actually there. The immersion was a very good thing of course, but there's only so much that you can do in your house, and the headset wasn't really ready to work on battery.
Apple's AR Kit is bringing a lot of advancements (like dynamic lighting, shadows and perspective that allows the 3d objects to be almost photorealistic). HoloLens was also quite expensive and required a computer to work. Now we'll have true augmented reality on our phones. You know - in our pockets. And that will help us get AR out of the confines of our homes and offices and let it tackle real world problems.
AR can be quite revolutionary because it has a lot of practical, real-world uses.
Some use cases are obvious - like an IKEA app to add that nice red couch to your living room before you buy it. But when we go out of the house and connect it to various databases it's when the real fun starts.
We can for example check a restaurant we're passing on the street to see their scores, price ranges, food photos and reviews.
At a bus stop we could check the schedules and if there's enough time we can actually set a reminder to still be able to grab a coffee at a place (that the app also helps us find) and make it in time for the bus to arrive.
Or find a craft beer place in a city you just arrived in.
And if you're a Silicon Valley fan, you can also determine yourself whether the food you're eating is a hotdog or not.
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There's of course A LOT more uses and we're exploring quite a few ideas. We are also working on two projects at the moment, one of which should launch with iOS 11 in September. We will announce it in more detail just before launch.
We are very excited for this technology, because it goes beyond games and interior design - it can be helpful in a lot of real world situations and solve more complex problems (like finding a place to eat nearby) a lot faster than going through reviews or "normal" maps. Let's augment our reality in 2017!
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