When Will AR Really Arrive?
I never did share with you my Augmented World Expo speech, so here it is. Such an honor speaking to this new industry in such a venue.
The question is "When will AR Really Arrive?"
September 2017 really amazing phone-based AR arrives from Apple. It will ignite the whole industry.
December 2017 really amazing mixed reality (AR on glasses that has the ability to really make you think that virtual things are part of the real world) will arrive from Magic Leap, but it'll be too expensive for mainstream and still will be tethered to a little box. It will be a developer preview that will be very exciting (I hope to be one of the first to get one) but it'll be at least another year for a broad consumer launch. At least that's what I'm hearing.
2018 will see a bunch of others get good enough. I expect to see Snap, ODG, Meta, Microsoft, and others at least show off developer previews. But most of the mainstream market will be focused on mobile-based AR, not glasses-based AR or mixed reality.
2019 seems to be the year where we'll get the really breakthrough devices but then it'll take a few more years for the mainstream audience to really show up in droves. So sometime between 2020 and 2025 you'll see phones really start to go away in many people's lives.
At least that's my current theory.
But I expect Apple will be alone in selling 100 million AR-enabled phones (or more) before the end of the year and have hundreds of millions of other phones that will do what we're seeing from the ARKit developers right now.
That is why I believe Apple is the "big bang" the industry has been waiting for even though what we really want is something like a very lightweight Microsoft HoloLens, which we probably will see in the next 18 months.
Shel Israel and I are advising startups with this timeline as our starting point.