Apple is working hard to bring augmented reality to the masses.
Because the technology is just in its beginning stages, it’s hard to say what AR will look like in five or ten years, at Apple or elsewhere. But, with ARKit, developers won’t have to develop their own underlying AR technology, which will likely speed up progress in the field.
Steven Milunovich, an analyst at UBS, recently released a list of ten possible uses of AR that Apple or its developers could produce with the ARKit technology, even though the new platform is still in its early stages.
“Over a 2-3 year period Apple could equip the iPad and iPhone with AR-enabled hardware, such as sensors, 3D cameras, and custom chipsets,” Milunovich said. “Combined with an SDK integrated into iOS, this could enable a far richer AR experience than current tablets.”
Milunovich argues that Apple has an advantage over other players because the company plans to incorporate its AR technology into the next version of its mobile operating system. The large existing customer base Apple commands means its AR technology will immediately reach more people than any other AR platform.
Apple is also set to leapfrog its competition because of its superior user experience, according to Milunovich.
Milunovich thinks the upside for the company’s stock from AR could be as much as 17% compared to Apple’s current share price of $145.32. UBS has a price target of $170 and rates the company a buy.
Milunovich gave these ten examples of where Apple’s AR technology could go in the future:
- Games and entertainment: Mobile games using AR are already here, and the area will only grow in the future.
- On-the-job training: Imagine pointing your iPhone at a car engine and being shown exactly which part to put where. This type of training gets even better if Apple decides to develop AR glasses.
- Facial and image recognition: 3D sensors that could be added to future versions of the phone to make AR technology better could also make unlocking your phone with your face more secure. Hackers wouldn’t be able to print off a photo of your face to unlock your phone.
- Healthcare and medicine: Those 3D sensors could also help you identify whether you should go to the doctor for that rash on your leg just by pointing your camera at it.
- Emergency situations: Stuck in an unfamiliar burning building? Hold up your phone and it will guide you to the safest exit.
- Home improvement: If want to repair your leaky faucet, try looking at an exploded diagram of your faucet in augmented reality instead of reading a boring manual.
- Furniture and retail purchases: IKEA is already working on letting you try out virtual models of their furniture in your home to see how it will match your other decor. Other retailers could be next.
- Cooking and other consumer instructions: Blue Apron might include augmented reality instructions for exactly how to slice that bok choy you just received. Grocery stores could augment their produce section with recipe suggestions.
- Real estate: Walk through an open house with all of your furniture and belongings already virtually moved in, instead of trying to picture what the empty rooms will look like with your stuff.
- Military: Heads up displays for fighter pilots and night vision augmented reality helmets for infantry are already being used, according to Milunovich. Further developments in AR technology are likely to be adopted by the military and civilians alike.