On September 12th, Apple CEO Tim Cook proudly walked on stage at the newly-erected and appropriately-named Steve Job’s Theatre. It was here, at Apple’s new $5 billion campus and in the shadow of the late Jobs, that Cook unveiled the tenth anniversary edition of the iPhone – the iPhone X.
The 10th anniversary iPhone
Highly-anticipated, the latest in the iPhone saga promises to be the most innovative phone yet from the world’s most valuable company. It will include wireless charging and the removal of the iconic home button- features that we’ve already seen on Samsung’s products.
The platform uses existing sensors to measure the surroundings and project digital imagery onto the physical world, the best example in the market currently being Pokémon Go…
But the new iPhone is also expected to have advanced facial recognition functions, compatible with Apple Pay and replacing the Touch ID fingerprint reader. Cook claimed this upgrade to facial recognition from that of the fingerprint was infinitely more secure, despite being left somewhat embarrassed after another senior member from Apple was unable to use his face to access the phone. The most significant and anticipated feature that will be incorporated into the new iPhone is the use of augmented reality (AR).
In June, Apple unveiled its ARKit, a tool for developers to build AR apps specifically for the iPhone. The platform uses existing sensors to measure the surroundings and project digital imagery onto the physical world, the best example in the market currently being Pokémon Go.
What gives Apple its competitive edge over their current AR competitors is that the technology will be built into the iOS 11. This means that when iOS 11 becomes available to the tens of millions of Apple users around the world, Apple is guaranteed to have the largest AR platform, all from a single software update.
With fierce competition from other companies in the field of AR/VR, Apple needs to make sure that it has a unique selling point in order to distinguish itself from other competitors…
There is, of course, no doubt that Apple’s ARKit will be facing competition from rival companies such as Google and Microsoft.
Google has been working on its own AR developer tool ARCore, which was developed upon the expertise it gained from the experience of project Tango.
Although we are not yet able to compare Google’s ARCore with Apple’s ARKit, we know that it offers similar experiences, with both softwares focusing on the depth-sensing, motion-tracking, scale and light estimation capabilities of the camera to make digital objects match their realistic environment.
Microsoft’s Hololens also offers a “mixed reality” experience, allowing users to engage with digital content and interact with holograms around them.
And who could forget Snapchat which has already released its AR hardware called Spectacles.
With fierce competition from other companies in the field of AR/VR, Apple needs to make sure that it has a unique selling point in order to distinguish itself from other competitors.
For now however, it’s surely in a good position.
AR > VR?
Personally, I believe that the new ARKit has the potential to be an international sensation when it is introduced to the market.
Unlike other companies, Apple has managed to redesign the AR technology into a simple software that is easy to use, accessible and affordable.
[Apple] Shares have rallied an impressive 39% since January, significantly outperforming US stocks overall, which are up 11%…
Apple owes its past success from bringing complex technology and making it simple and accessible to a wide range of consumers – it is Apple’s complete mastery of this that has seen Apple triumph over rival tech companies, despite often displaying larger price tags.
VR Headsets such as Hololens or Oculus Rift may be as equally or even more advanced than AR experiences, but they haven’t sold in significant quantities given their hefty price tags and the fact that they can’t be used for anything other than entertainment.
Meanwhile, the ARKit doesn’t require consumers to purchase a completely new device or gadget but merely a software update.
Once again then, it is Apple’s ability to constantly innovate and improve upon existing businesses to match consumers’ demands that will enable it to maintain its market position above all other companies and remain the largest tech company in the world.
What about the future of Apple?
It is true that, up until now, the Apple Watch hadn’t caught on as much as expected and that the previous generation of iPhone wasn’t as ground-breaking as many hoped it would be with sales growth stagnating over the past two years. And where can Apple go next with the mac? – One may be forgiven for doubting Apple’s future prospects.
Cook announced that Apple Watch sales have grown by 50% this year, making it the best-selling watch in the world…
But this year Apple has seemingly silenced its doubters once more.
Its shares have rallied an impressive 39% since January, significantly outperforming US stocks overall, which are up 11%. Similarly, Cook announced that Apple Watch sales have grown by 50% this year, making it the best-selling watch in the world.
After Cook’s game-changing announcement that revealed a new generation of Apple Watch that won’t require an iPhone in order to function, this figure is surely set to increase.
Once more, Cook announced that revenue from Apple’s other products (including both the Apple Watch and Apple TV among others) grew by 20% this year.
And let’s not forget the upcoming release of the HomePod – Apple’s take on the hugely-popular Amazon Echo – and Apple’s ongoing research into autonomous vehicles.
Ultimately then, the future of Apple lies beyond the iPhone. But Apple’s ingenuity over AR is the latest example of how the world’s most valuable company is still at the top of its game.
Indeed, AR could one day completely eliminate the need for smartphones and screens. As Mark Zuckerberg said, “Think about how many of the things around us don’t actually need to be physical…Instead of a $500 TV sitting in front of us, what’s to keep us from one day having it be a $1 app?”