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Apple Outsmarted Google by Focusing on AR for Smartphones instead of VR designed for no-volume Headsets



Without a doubt the buzz generated from the Wingnut AR demo at Apple WWDC 2017 keynote blew everyone away. Since that time there have been many developers jumping in with examples of their AR experiments (one and two). In June Apple's CEO told Businessweek that he's so excited about the future of Augmented Reality that he wants to scream. Both Tim Cook and Apple's SVP of software Craig Federighi have stated that Apple will have the largest AR platform in the world once iOS 11 launches next month. It's a dimension being added to iDevices that is sure to drive excitement for Apple's iPhone X and iPhone 8. Even IDC is forecasting growth of 9.1% for the iPhone in 2018 because of Apple's exciting new line-up. So is it any wonder that Google went into panic mode to get their ARCore tools out to developers prior to the release of the new iPhones in an effort to temper the mania surrounding Apple's ARKit?


Reuters reported late yesterday that yesterday "Alphabet Inc.'s Google unveiled tools to make augmented reality apps for mobile devices using the Android operating system, setting up its latest showdown with Apple Inc.'s iPhone over next-generation smartphone features.


Google's take on the technology will first be available on the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Google's own Pixel phone. The company said in a blog post that it hoped to make the system, called ARCore, available to at least 100 million users, but did not set a date for a broad release."


Of course Google is trying steal Apple's thunder with their line about ARCore reaching 100 million users when there's no way in hell that Samsung and Pixel phones alone will be able to hit that mark next quarter because older generations of Android won't be able to run ARCore apps. So it's just deceptive marketing to suggest that they can match Apple's volume when Apple's iOS 11 launches and reaches 85% of their base on day one that the update is available.


Reuters further noted that "Google and Apple will jockey for the attention of customers and software developers who will build the games, walking guides and other applications that would make AR a compelling feature.


Many tech industry leaders envision a future in which eyeglasses, car windshields and other surfaces can overlay digital information on the real world. Google and Microsoft Corp have already experimented with AR glasses." Apple was just granted their third patent covering their own AR Glasses yesterday.


Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook told investors earlier in August that "AR is big and profound. And this is one of those huge things that we'll look back at and marvel on the start of it."


Information about Google's AR tools could be found here, and the Google AR and VR blog could be found here.


While Google spent their time focusing on mobile VR that required consumers to use cheap Gear VR or Google Daydream headsets, Apple smartly focused on AR, a strategy designed to harness its existing advantages in the smartphone space.


Now Apple's strategy is about to pay off by putting the company in the position of being the brand the mainstream associates with AR first, with all others playing catch-up. Reportedly ARKit will run on iPhone 6S forward on iPhones and iPads including the iPad Pro. In round one, Apple will be the winner by a TKO during the all-important holiday quarter.


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