As has been rumoured for a while, Apple seems to be making a play in AR. That’s not surprising, as every major technology business is going to want to play in the AR/VR space.
The interesting question is whether Augmented Reality or Virtual Reality will dominate. There are plenty of pundits who say that AR is much more palatable – it weaves digital content with the real world and therefore will adopted at a rate many times faster than VR.
I’ll take a slightly different tack and highlight that a) they are suited to different tasks and b) it’s feasible that both could be generated from the same device a few years in.
Consider that collaboration experiences would probably benefit from semi-immersive AR, as will traveling / navigation applications, ‘live’ cooking / tourism guides, etc. It’s easy to see value in digital aides to everyday activities.
Most games will benefit from fully immersing the user, as will fully virtual tourism experiences, 360-degree 3D movies, etc. There are plenty of situations where (virtually) transporting people to another place will be the winning play.
An average user may well leverage both, just in different scenarios.
In terms of multi-application devices – I’ve never read of such a thing, but what happens when your 30% virtual / 70% ‘real’ AR experience simply covers your viewing space with 100% virtual content. Then, voila, you’re in VR. Any AR device that can deliver virtual content to any sub-set of the visual space should be able to scale in this way?