Gene Munster, an analyst with Piper Jaffray claims that Apple is evaluating augmented reality as a future platform. He bases his assessment on information from industry analysts that Apple is assembling a small team to explore augmented reality. This story was picked up by CNet and other news outlets.
One of the arguments used to explain Apple’s interest is the advent of Google Glass, Sony SmartEyeglass, Microsoft HoloLens and other devices. Nevertheless, the current form of augmented reality hardware seems not to be sexy enough to capture consumer interest. This may go for the hardware itself as well as their applications.
The analysts also see a necessity for AR hardware to appeal more strongly to the consumer if this technology wants to address the larger consumer market. In recent years, Apple has made strides in this direction, driven mostly by its activities to bring the Apple Watch to the market. This was helped by people coming from outside the consumer electronics industry into Apple.
The analyst sees these market trends and recent interest of Apple in wearables as an indication that Apple is testing the waters in augmented reality. A very interesting explanation, but still I believe every word that Apple is evaluating augmented reality technology. Not because there is any insider information used in the article, but simply because this is what Apple does with every technology.
The company will evaluate technology, develop new technology, look at the consumer interest in the technology and develop a business plan most likely more advanced than those of their competitors. After that, it figures out how to make the product and how it can make plenty of money with the device and related services. After all of that, Apple may or may not decide to bring the product to market. Any evaluation of technology is no guarantee that Apple will actually release a new product.
As a matter of fact, Apple is on record as saying that the most difficult decision in the company is which new technology it will bring to market. – NH