As augmented reality (AR) headsets loom on the horizon, it seems technologists are split on whether the technology will actually become mainstream.
Late last month, we asked you if augmented reality will succeed. A large number of you responded, and the results are mixed. Though the choice was a binary one (yes or no) most said AR was “always going to remain niche.”
Some 59 percent don’t feel augmented reality will do anything meaningful for tech, while 41 percent see the promise of AR. These results are definitive, but a 60/40 split isn’t totally convincing. Still, it’s easy to see how most would doubt AR.
The lone ‘hit app’ for AR is “Pokemon Go,” which dominated the summer it was released. The game was so popular that it prompted people to invest in external battery packs just so they could continue playing the game for many hours without heading back inside.
But since then, AR has largely failed to capture the imagination. Other companies have rolled out AR apps, such as IKEA’s augmented reality furniture app that allows you to virtually place furniture in a room before dragging the boxes home from an IKEA store. Handy, sure… but popular? Not quite.
This may explain the doubt surrounding AR, too. It’s entirely possible technologists have false expectations due to “Pokemon Go” dominating the scene early on. It’s also possible we’re examining augmented reality through the lens of popular apps, as opposed to a platform. It’s also a bit of a chicken-egg problem: it’s hard to view AR as a platform when there are no good heads-up displays or use-cases that make sense for day-to-day living.
Augmented reality also isn’t a “platform” yet. We’ve heard rumblings that Apple will introduce a unique operating system for augmented reality along with its discreet eyewear, but we still haven’t seen anything solid on that front. It’s expected to land in 2020.
Until then, we doubt these numbers could change much. However, if Apple (or whomever is working on AR headsets) can convince us that augmented-reality eyewear is something we should tote around, just like we use smartphones to navigate the world and our day-to-day lives, the results of these kinds of polls would likely prove radically different.