June 6, 2017

Augmenting Our Reality, Really

At Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference this week in San Jose, California, the brand is expected to announce key elements of its latest iOS 11 software.

That comes with the standard expectation of new hardware, such as a stand-alone Siri device and upgraded iPads. But there are also some heavy expectations that Apple will start surfacing its vision for integrating augmented reality into our everyday lives.

You can expect to see augmented reality become more than just catching Pokemon and finding a good place to eat. The possibilities are endless -- especially if Apple is successful at turning the iPhone into the window to our digital world with nary a hoop to jump through to make it happen.

According to Leanplum, a typical smartphone user receives an average of 100 notifications a day, but notifications are still seen by many as a distraction and people are opting out of receiving them from apps and businesses. So, what if there was a better way?

Tim Cook and Apple see augmented and mixed reality as game changers that will bridge the digital world with the real world around you. Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook is doubling down on augmented content to satisfy the millions of users rooted into their Facebook app daily.

What if that digital content became so interactive that you simply sample products when it's convenient for you? Soon, augmented and mixed reality experiences will "digitize" the real world, allowing people to have digital interactions with physical products. 

Imagine digital objects sitting on your real vintage mahogany desk or digital signage floating over your favorite dive bar downtown. Maybe even glowing yellow arrows guiding you to the bus station in a strange city, and signs that are digitally translated into your native language.

Using default settings and the native camera on your iPhone, Apple could tap into a bevy of services to aid a user's daily workflow. Apple Maps could bridge into your real-life surroundings, or Siri could highlight the restaurants on the block you are standing on. No third-party software to install, no risk of being pushed messaging you don't need. Ask and you shall see -- all through the lens of your smart device.

There would be no more glancing at your Apple Watch when it buzzes on your wrist or checking your phone for a push notification. Rather, the content you need will be sitting right in front of you waiting for you to interact with it.

The key is leaving behind the bulky headsets and silly glasses -- leaning more toward the camera on your smartphone serving as a window into valuable digital content. Facebook has already launched into beta Facebook AR Studio, which will leverage the camera tech inside of the Facebook app to push augmented content, so we can expect Apple may go down a similar road.

Apple has been successful of late by leveraging their proprietary hardware to serve as a conduit for successful software services like Apple Music, Siri, iCloud, HealthKit and more. What if Apple took the upcoming iOS 11, coupled it with a shiny new iPhone 8 device, and baked augmented reality capabilities into its native camera to leverage these services in a whole new way?

The key, with a built-in user base numbering in the millions, will be to make it easy and elegant -- two things Apple very much understands.


This content appeared previously on: 4A's News & Views