Apple's rumored VR headset could hit stores in 2022, and is predicted to cost ~$3K. With new reality-bending products potentially dropping next year, Apple will open the door to new opportunities for indie hackers.
AR vs. VR: Virtual reality (VR) headsets fill your field of vision with whatever is being displayed. When you turn them off, you experience the feeling of being blindfolded.
Augmented reality (AR) headsets, on the other hand, add to your reality by overlaying additional information on what you actually see. For instance, an AR headset could scan a tree that you're looking at in real time and display information about what type of tree it is. Here's an easy rule of thumb: VR replaces, AR adds.
The background: Apple has long been rumored to have hundreds of employees working on top-secret AR and VR projects. At Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2020, the company updated its developer ARKit to Version 4.0 with a suite of new functionalities and features, including a new API.
On the consumer side, Apple also just released its first AppleTV+ AR App. AR hit the market with high expectations, fueled largely by the viral success of Pokémon Go, a mobile app released in 2016.
Pokémon Go attracted nearly 160M users worldwide, and is predicted to exceed 500M users in the next four years.
The explosion of interest in AR at that time was primarily targeted at consumer and marketing-based apps. Later, the concept seemed to go underground, absent the rapid adoption initially predicted.
The details: AR has actually been widely adopted in industrial settings such as product design, maintenance, and technical support. Google Glass launched its "Enterprise Edition 2.0" over a year ago, and other software companies have integrated AR into remote support and instructional apps.
A recent report indicates that several organizations were prepared to consider adopting AR in some form in early 2020. However, COVID-19 sidetracked the embrace of this particular innovation as companies prioritized building infrastructure for remote work, and adapted operations models.
Today, companies of all sizes are discovering how AR technologies can help them address challenges. AR professional use cases, such as knowledge capture, employee training, and digital instruction, are prime for exploration. In the retail space, brands such as IKEA, Sephora, Timberland, and Home Depot have experimented with product visualization, virtual try-on, and indoor product navigation.
What's in store?: Statista's 2021 report projects that AR/VR will be a $73B industry by 2024.
Growth opportunities include:
Takeaway: Founders should watch this space. AR/VR will present countless opportunities to launch new products and services. Those who can harness their skills and expertise will be prepared to create in this emerging market.
What are your thoughts on the AR/VR field? Would you consider adopting this technology for your business?