This story was delivered to BI Intelligence Apps and Platforms Briefing subscriber’s hours before appearing on Business Insider. To be the first to know, please click here. Apple’s leadership has created an ecosystem that is now poised to double down on augmented reality, an emerging technology poised to revolutionize the way we use our phones. iPhone apps.
Earlier this month, Apple announced it will soon be releasing ARKit, which will allow developers to incorporate the technology into iOS apps. In recent months, Tim Cook and co. have showcased ARKit on iPhone and iPad at their developer conferences, and, despite some concerns, the impact ARKit can have on Apple’s user base has been well-received by the industry.
Apple has a great opportunity to capitalize on this market, and will likely pursue it aggressively in the years ahead. The technology is already opening the door for developers to reach a massive audience, allowing for more creative experiences and more social media features, and with augmented reality, Apple has a chance to create a platform that not only captivates mainstream consumers, but also rewards developers with a more valuable platform.
Augmented reality will revolutionize the way people use and interact with their smartphones:
Since AR has yet to achieve mainstream adoption, Apple’s ecosystem has a major opportunity to tap into a new base of consumers — mainly early adopters and developers — that are ready to try out the technology. iPhone apps.
Most popular platforms in the market
The company already boasts one of the most popular platforms in the market, allowing developers to reach hundreds of millions of iOS devices. Apple will now be able to lean on its long history of consumer loyalty to accelerate AR adoption. Apple will also likely invest more heavily in the coming years, providing developers with the tools and capabilities to build their businesses. iPhone apps.
Apple’s ecosystem will be instrumental in driving adoption of augmented reality across the board, potentially leading to increased developer and consumer interest. While ARKit will have an impact on the existing app market, it will also be the opening window developers need to reach a massive untapped consumer base.
Although AR adoption will take time, Apple has a unique opportunity to leverage its market position to encourage developers and consumers to take it seriously. More consumers will be more likely to use ARKit if it’s supported on more best Apple devices, and developers that want to make apps and services for a platform will be more likely to do so if it’s more likely to see broad adoption. This could potentially lead to a “winner takes all” scenario, where a few big winners emerge, while the rest of the market loses steam.
Senior Analyst at BMO Capital Markets
Gerrick Johnson, senior analyst at BMO Capital Markets, has a strong view on the AR opportunity:
“The real killer app is the ability to put virtual objects into the real world. Apple’s acquisition of Magic Leap over the summer provides an excellent example of the potential value of this capability. No virtual item or media is more compelling than an AR viewer. If Apple can put AR content in the hands of as many consumers as possible, AR should become the major tool of many in the entertainment industry. The capabilities of both companies’ respective AR platforms, and the large number of iPhones and iPads that will be in consumers’ hands in the next couple of years, are great signs that this opportunity is ripe.”
However, not everyone agrees. Martin Armstrong, founder of Armstrong Investment Research, doesn’t see the opportunity as being as big as people do:
“This is an area that is taking a while to develop and I think we are looking at years. If I was investing I’d wait and buy in at the right price. In the meantime, look at these tech stocks which aren’t growing but are in great shape and have solid income statements.”
Apple’s AR opportunity
A big reason why Armstrong is concerned about the potential of Apple’s AR opportunity is that he doesn’t think that Apple will be able to create a platform that benefits app developers and consumers in the same way as Facebook’s (FB) Instagram, Snapchat (SNAP) and YouTube:
“The reason I say this is the way Facebook makes money is to ‘take people somewhere’ for 30 minutes. Apple already has you for 30 minutes with your iPhone but what it doesn’t have is to take you somewhere else for 30 minutes.”
Unfortunately, even if Apple’s AR platform proves to be as successful as expected, it may not have an impact on the financials until 2020, according to his estimates.
Winner Take All scenario
If Apple plays its cards right, the company could be the key driver of AR adoption. If a big player like Apple jumps into the market in a big way, adoption of AR could jump quite a bit within a few years, especially if its leading the space.
Apple’s challenge will be making AR a viable technology for consumers and developers. Currently, the technology isn’t perfect. For instance, I still find it easier to just watch a YouTube video on my iPhone than I do to watch a video on my TV, even with the help of technology.
Yet AR is undeniably one of the most exciting technologies of the decade, and the early success of Apple’s ARKit platform should only encourage developers to work with the technology.
While I am excited about Apple’s position in the AR market, I’m not ready to make an investment in the stock just yet, given that many other companies are investing more heavily in the space, namely Facebook, Google, Snap (SNAP) and Sony. iPhone apps.
However, I can see Apple’s stock price climbing higher over the next few years if AR becomes a hit and the company is able to reap the rewards of that technology.
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