Until last week several rumours whether Apple is investing in Augmented Reality or not have come up very often over the last couple of years. Acquisitions like PrimeSense, the Israeli 3D sensor company (2013) and Metaio, the German computer vision tracking company (2015) created a huge hype around this issue. When earlier this year Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, called Augmented Reality “the greatest thing since the smartphone!”, it was clear that they are up to something for the broad mass of consumers.
Other tech giants like Microsoft also bet on this technology, creating new user experiences, leading the customer journey and driving faster sales. Devices like the Microsoft HoloLens or working on new Augmented Reality technologies like SLAM Trackings for all mobile devices are a proof for everyone betting on this new technology. Even Google with its project Tango started pushing Android as the state-of-the-art Augmented Reality platform over those last couple of years, delivering sustainable software solutions for mobile devices.
But it all came down to Monday, June 5th 2017, when Apple released the ARKit, accelerating the entire AR-world by preinstalling Augmented Reality features on hundreds of millions of Apple devices with its new operating system iOS 11 to be released in September 2017.
The demos Apple presents, and companies like IKEA who already working on new AR-experiences featuring the Apple ARKit, show how Augmented Reality will find its place in e-commerce and the field of product visualisation. ViewAR is already integrating the ARKit, launching first consumer apps with Bang & Olufsen and Markilux in September this year.
Since the car-industry has taken the early train to AR with sophisticated configurators, it became clear that Augmented Reality was the key of future success for e-commerce and retail. Consulting agencies and research giants worldwide are steadily publishing studies on Augmented Reality and its use. PWC’s and JDA Software Group’s “CEO Viewpoint 2017: The Transformation Of Retail” states: “Especially the sector of retail starts to augment obvious visuals with virtual elements like pictures, texts and graphics or even videos, as well as visualising products in a consumer’s environment to drive sales and to create a more immersive customer journey.”
ViewAR already pushed an extreme testing of Apple’s new ARKit, proving enormous tracking stability.