Augmented Reality and Apple’s Vision for an Augmented Future
Augmented reality (AR) has long been overshadowed in the minds of futurists and technologists by the related field of virtual reality. However, it may hold far more promise for both practical and entertainment purposes than virtual reality. Furthermore, augmented reality may be a more achievable goal, as it can rely on a base of existing real imagery instead of having to create wholly new and completely separate virtual worlds.
So What Is Augmented Reality?
At its simplest, augmented reality is merely the overlay of real imagery with additional “augmented” features created through a technological device. One of the easiest augmented reality devices to imagine is simply a set of glasses that offers the capability of overlaying additional imagery. AR devices work by selectively allowing light reflected from the real world to pass through the eyes into the brain, while adding additional light from the device itself to transform those real images.
Apple’s Vision For Augmented Reality
Apple’s ($AAPL) use of AR has been tied in with its incredibly popular iPhone series. The iPhone operates like a camera, showing the user an image of what the device is pointed at, and now these images can be augmented by hardware and software within the iPhone.
Apple’s applications are currently focused on entertainment, in the form of augmented reality video games that can be played in real-life backgrounds, but this is merely an introductory use of the technology meant to show off its capabilities and acclimatize users to the uses and potential of it.
An Augmented Future
While there is no reason to discount the current and future entertainment value of augmented technology, the real goals for it are far more practical and useful. AR represents a new and more efficient way of displaying and processing information, offering a dramatically enhanced vision of the future of everything.
Augmented reality allows for the display of additional information about existing reality that can be used for everything from shopping and work to travel and leisure. An augmented reality device could display the prices of goods in a store, eliminating the need to check labels and price tags. It could display extreme temperatures on a factory floor, thereby reducing accidents and improving efficiency.
Augmented reality can even be used to improve human information processing and reaction times when it comes to dangerous situations or could give health warning when observing something on the human body, all of which can save billions in health care and insurance costs around the globe.
Apple Is Positioned to Make the Most of an Augmented Future
By incorporating augmented reality features into its extremely popular iPhone series, Apple has positioned itself to be a leader in the emerging field of augmented reality. Even a fully augmented future will only come about through the gradual incorporation of augmented features, and Apple is positioned to slowly roll out these features through the incremental introduction of hardware and software in its iPhone series.
If the future is to be augmented, it now seems likely that it will be Apple that has augmented it, cementing the company’s continued future as the global leader of consumer technology.