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Things To Expect From Apple’s AR

Things To Expect From Apple's AR

It’s almost time for the iPhone 8 to be unveiled, and though we’ve come to have a pretty good understanding of what it will look like and what it will be capable of, we can never put it past Apple to surprise us. Tim Cook and Co. are well aware that there’s an even brighter spotlight than usual on this fall’s inevitable keynote activity, as they’ll be marking one decade since the debut of their flagship smartphone. They’ll want to have something big up their sleeves.

One possibility is that they could unveil their AR smart glasses sooner than anticipated. We more or less know these are coming, but most don’t expect them to be ready in time for a fall release. But The pieces are in place for a release sooner or later and we’ve already gotten a pretty good idea of what kinds of experiences the glasses will work with, thanks to ARKit. This is the software Apple has already introduced to allow developers to design AR experiences. While experiences primarily exist through phone screens right now, they’ll eventually be brought to first person perspective through the glasses.

These are some of the specific things that we might expect to see.

Educational Demos

One of the coolest things we’ve seen so far on AR for iOS is a recreation of the moon landing in somebody’s room. Someone made a replica of the moon so that it hovered in place (roughly the size of a large exercise ball) and could be walked around. Then a tiny ship materialized in the air and slowly made its landing on the moon. It’s incredible to watch, and while it seems to have been made just for fun, it opens your eyes to the potential of this field in education. Teachers probably don’t want their kids wearing AR glasses just yet (who knows what they’d be watching or doing), but this potential is not going to go ignored. We’ll probably start to see all kinds of educational experiences emerging in the months and years ahead.

Construction and World Building Titles

One of the first games that really got people buzzing about virtual reality was a new version of Minecraft. Even the demonstrations early on were pretty amazing. People could build worlds in the same way they did in the mobile or console of the game, but do it with their hands, up close, as if they were gods forming environments at a lifelike scale. Similar demonstrations have already come out on ARKit, which means we’ll likely soon have the option of playing Minecraft in AR without anything other than a mobile phone (and eventually Apple’s glasses). But it’s not just about Minecraft. Construction and city building games, from Minecraft to Roller Coaster Tycoon, have always been popular, and they’re likely going to have a significant place in the AR industry.

Interactive Casino Games

Online casino game developers have already started to make mini-forays into VR, and there’s a lot of buzz about the potential for tabletop games on AR. Combine the two and you get the idea of interactive casino games on counters and tables, broadcast via AR. But don’t just think of stale games like cards and roulette wheels taking virtual form. Casino gaming has gone well beyond this, particularly where slots are concerned. Slot games are comprised of all kinds of themes including rock bands, characters from popular movies, and even original settings and adventures. These lend whole worlds to games that would otherwise be bland, and it’s those world’s that could be brought into our realities to introduce a whole new type of casino game.

Tower Defense Games

There will be a lot of games that come out on AR platforms, so we could keep this going for a while. But considering everything we just said with regard to casino games, imagine how fun tower defense will be when it’s playing out on a table or floor in front of you. Towers can actually be vertical, the worlds around them can be vibrant and detailed, and you’ll get a whole new adrenaline rush from stopping the progression of whatever invasive element is at hand in a given game. Tower defense has become one of the most popular genres when it comes to mobile devices and we could easily see it also making the leap to AR.

Virtual Company

This is something people aren’t talking about too much yet, but there have already been some ARKit experiences that effectively put digital characters into real environments. Imagine how that could be used for to enhance storybooks or to provide company to a child who’s lonely or afraid at night. We don’t want to move too far in this direction and encourage imaginary friends, but in light doses, it could be a very charming concept. Even things like talking animals (or Pokémon) could be brought to life in our homes.

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