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Apple’s AR might leapfrog the competition by 3-5 years

Published Nov 2nd, 2016 7:45AM EDT

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Ask anyone, and they’ll probably tell you that Apple is very late to the AR and VR game — that’s augmented and virtual realities, if you’re not familiar with the acronyms. Of those, Apple is betting big on AR, according to Tim Cook’s many comments on the matter, which would give users a layer of digital information on top of the real world. Think Pokemon Go, but for everything.

But Apple’s hardware isn’t ready for AR and VR at this time, and it might be a while until it rolls out its AR products. Even so, a new report claims that once in place, Apple AR experience could leapfrog the competition by 3-5 years.

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The well-informed analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, a source of steady and accurate reports about Apple’s future products, said in a note to investors that Apple’s AR tech will debut in one to two years at the minimum. That’s even if competitors including Google, Samsung, Facebook, Microsoft, and Sony are already launching second- and third-generation AR/VR products.

According to Kuo’s notes, seen by Apple Insider, the iPhone might provide the building blocks for AR. When the technology matures, Kuo says that Apple will integrate AR to redefine key product lines. That’s how Apple could leapfrog competing devices by up to five years, even it’s going to arrive late to the game.

The problems Apple needs to fix first are related to the processing power and battery life needed by devices that would power AR products. And Apple will likely want to offer users AR-ready products that are easy on the eyes.

Kuo does not offer details about a particular product that would help Apple usher in its AR era, and it’s too early to tell whether next year’s iPhone 8 or iOS 11 will come with any Apple-made AR/VR features. It’s unclear if an AR headset is in the works. But the analyst also said that Apple might leverage AR products to enter other fields, including the car market. Apple could come out with autonomous driving systems that could incorporate AR and Siri features.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.