Release of ARKit leading to surge of consumer interest in AR platforms

You can call it the ‘Apple effect’ and it may just be about to launch AR into the mainstream.

Following the launch of the iPhone 8, iOS 11 and the new ARKit platform, it is clear that Apple is predicting big things for AR.

And where Apple goes, hordes of eager consumers tend to follow. When you add this to the fact that Google has also recently released its ARCore platform for Android developers, it is clear that consumers will be seeing a lot more AR in the coming months.

New research also shows that with increased exposure comes increased consumer expectations of the experiences, tools and apps that brands should be providing them.

The report from UK-based mixed reality company DigitalBridge found that 74% of the consumers they surveyed said they expected to offered AR tools by brands after the release of the new iPhone.

“Augmented reality hasn’t really caught the public’s attention as much as virtual reality, thanks to its popularity in the gaming and leisure industry,” David Levine, CEO of DigitalBridge, said.

“However, Apple’s focus on this immersive technology and its forthcoming battle with Google (and others) has really turned the focus on its head and augmented reality is having its first mainstream moment.”

The report’s findings seem to back this up, with 61% of respondents listing AR as the incoming technology they are most excited about using. This compares to 30% who think that VR should be the priority for retailers, and 9% who want AI tools like chatbots to be top of the list.

Consumer expectations

The report suggests that consumers have high expectations for the AR tools that brands should be offering.

20% said that brands should have already got their AR tools ready prior to the launch of ARKit, while 49% expect there to be a big rise in the number of apps available to them in the next six months. The main appeal for consumers is that they can use their own phones to access the AR experiences, with 82% saying they prefer this to having ‘instore’ experiences.

“As a business and commerce application, particularly when it comes to mobile commerce, augmented reality has much more potential than virtual reality as it’s easier and cheaper to implement and I think we’re going to see a new eco-system of AR enabled experiences in the coming weeks and months.”

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