Big changes, while they often seem sudden, don’t just happen out of thin air. It takes a series of smaller events that fly under the radar, slowly building up to an inflection point that breaks into mainstream consciousness.
Tomorrow one of the biggest building blocks of our technological ecosystem will release: Augmented reality (AR) on iPhone.¹ It will start out slow, but before we know it AR will be a part of our everyday lives.
What is Augmented Reality?
Augmented reality is, in a nutshell, the combining of software and reality.² It’s the best of both worlds—the literal application of everything we’ve learned over the last decade on the App Store.
It’s far easier to understand by seeing. Take a look below at some of the experimental AR that’s been released over the past couple of months.
I could go on, but you get the idea. View more at Made With ARKit.
But hasn't AR been around for years?
Good question. Yes, AR has been around since the early 90s, starting with the US Air Force and gaining traction in commercial applications. The difference is that it's finally coming to the average person. Finding a new experience will be as easy as making a quick visit to the Apple App Store. And we can do it all on a device that lives in our pocket—a device that most of us already have, right now.
The possibilities are endless. Every facet of our lives is impacted by apps already (whether it's a good or bad thing is a separate conversation), imagine that same saturation with AR. Finding your friend in a crowd will be as simple as holding your phone up and following an arrow. You'll be able to see the names and stats of sports players at a live event, right over their heads. You can play chess on the table with your friends... without an actual chess set. I'm excited to see how our lives change for the better in ways we can't yet imagine.
Tomorrow, It Happens
I could go on and on about the potential of AR, how it's going to change our lives forever (epic claim). Instead, I'll stop, because only time will tell. For now, let's enjoy the journey. Make sure you update your iPhone to iOS 11 tomorrow so you can start experiencing AR for yourself.
1. I know, I know. “What about Android?” I’m not discrediting Google or Android, but the mainstream current is dictated by Apple right now. That’s just how it is.
2. Wikipedia’s official definition: Augmented reality is a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are "augmented" by computer-generated or extracted real-world sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data.