Apple is Set to Beat Google in the Competition for Mobile AR Supremacy
Apple has cultivated a reputation for releasing the best version of any given type of product. Their infrastructure, which involves developing both the hardware and software for their products, allows Apple to offer seamless experiences for their users. The company takes a proactive approach by offering mobile app developers the tools they need to create programs that will run well on iPhones, iPads, Macbooks, and related products.
The tech giant is set to conquer the mobile augmented reality experience. At this year’s WWDC, Apple revealed ARKit, tailored specifically to the needs of augmented reality developers. Combine that with new AR-friendly features in the iPhone 8 and latest iOS upgrade, and it’s clear that Apple is prioritizing this technology.
The History of Mobile AR
Apple isn’t the first company taking steps towards advancing augmented reality on mobile devices. As far back as three years ago, Google unveiled Project Tango. Despite having a big head start, it doesn’t seem likely that Google will win out over Apple in the long run. This is mainly due to the fact that Android devices require additional hardware to run many AR programs.
This is not the case over at Apple. Thanks to the ARKit, such applications will run on the iPhone SE, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, all models of the iPad Pro, and the 9.7-inch iPad.
Apple’s ARKit Advantage
Currently, only two mobile phones support Tango: the Phab Pro 2 and the ZenFone AR. Bloomberg points out the difference clearly: “This is a major drawback when you’re in the business of building a new AR ecosystem that weds apps made by third-party developers to millions of smartphone-wielding consumers. Tango is on so few Android devices that developers won’t risk making apps for the system because they worry no one will use them. It’s the opposite with Apple: If only half of all its active devices download the new iOS 11 operating system this fall, that will be 500 million iPhones and iPads with ARKit. (More than 1 billion Apple devices run iOS, but some earlier models will be incompatible with the new OS). Still, that’s a huge, almost-instant market for AR developers to target.”
In other words, Apple already has users for AR programs. If you own any of the Apple devices listed above, you could theoretically use any AR application designed for them. There is no need to purchase supplemental hardware or a new phone. Apple created a development kit that ensures new AR applications will run smoothly on existing devices.
Why Google Can’t Compete
Google faces an obstacle that Apple has already worked around. One company needs to convince customers to purchase new devices solely for the opportunity to make use of an AR program, while another has made it so that customers can utilize AR programs on the devices they already own. It’s clear who has the advantage here. Google may have started before Apple, but now the newcomer is superseding its predecessor with smarter and leaner technology.