Augmented reality (AR) is one of those areas that most technologists don’t pay much attention to. After all, aside from the breakout success of “Pokemon Go,”no AR game or app seems to have seized the popular imagination. On top of that, not many developers seem to be taking advantage of the tools offered by Google and Apple for building smartphone-based AR software (at least compared to those building smartphone and mobile apps).
Within a year or two, however, that picture could change. There are indications that Apple intends on producing an AR headset of some sort. If it succeeds—and yes, Apple can devote the billions of dollars necessary for that success—then other companies will likely follow it with headsets of their own. That’s potentially good news for all those developers and technologists who have an idea for an AR-based app or game, but don’t think the market is lucrative enough to devote the time and resources to actually building their own version of augmented reality.
However, there’s always the chance that even an augmented reality headset from Apple could fail on the open marketplace. After all, other headsets with a lot of buzz behind them—most notably Magic Leap, which turned out to bemore hype than hope—didn’t succeed, although that could just as easily be due to a super-high price point. There’s also the desperate need for an ecosystem of must-have “killer apps” that compel people to rush out and buy—so far, with the exception of “Pokemon,” even AR games based off blockbuster IP have failed to gain much traction (such as the “Walking Dead” game that came out last year).
In any case, the future remains to be written. What do you think? Will augmented reality truly become the “next big thing” in tech, powering a new generation of services and products? Or is it doomed to remain a very exclusive niche?