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Mar 22, 2017 11:20 AM EDT

Apple Gets Serious With Augmented Reality; Up-And-Coming To The iPhone Before AR Devices Fully Replace It

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Apple's Tim Cook is dead serious about Augmented Reality with ambitious goals of making it available for the general public to beat competitors and ensure Apple stays on top in next-generation gadgetry market. The AR technology is still in development but progress has already been made in the software department for the iPhone, which may soon have AR features before AR devices will fully replace it as Apple's top-of-the-line product.

Late last year, Cook already expressed his AR ambitions as making it a part of people's lives as essential as eating three meals a day. This year, the CEO is aggressively pursuing AR by bringing together a dedicated team of hardware engineers, software experts and staff adept in visual effects and video games, Bloomberg reported. The progress made on the iPhone software is the ability to overlay real-time video and photo effects just like Snapchat. However, the Apple Augmented Reality technology may not be featured in the iPhone 8 as of yet, but it will eventually find its way on the brand before it is supplanted by new AR devices.

Another AR hardware that Apple wants to be tethered to the iPhone just like Apple Watch is a pair of smartglasses. This will be paired with the iPhone to beam content like maps, videos or movies to the wearer. Cook already spoke of these since 2016 but unlike the software, the hardware end may be a bit challenging if Apple wants to avoid the failure of the Google Glass in 2014, Technology Review reported. For this case, the Apple Augmented Reality technology will have to overcome a host of challenges in design choices that will not just be about optics and batteries.

Naturally, the new AR accessory will depend on the iPhone's battery, but it will also need new software, a new chip and a lot of relevant media content. As of now, the current digital spectacles with AR features are not that well polished in design with one lacking power and build quality while another may have more power but overwhelmingly cumbersome. Apple's new AR smartglasses will have to embrace its philosophy of going for thin and lightweight yet packed with power to be truly useful. Moreover, Apple really has no other option but to pursue its own Augmented Reality technology since it will be a driving force in the years to come that could grow by as much as 80 percent or the equivalent of $165 billion by 2024.

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