Augmented reality is past its initial surge of activity and interest, but we should expect it to come roaring back at some time in the next year or so. This is because, while development and excitement of mobile AR may have stalled out to some extent, Apple’s long-rumored glasses are still expected to be announced in due time. Some of the latest indications have production beginning this year, which would seem to set them up for a 2020 release.
This will almost certainly represent a massive boost for the fledgling consumer AR technology. While we should probably expect Apple’s glasses to be expensive when they’re first released, people tend to buy pricey Apple products anyway. They’ll also undoubtedly lead to plenty of competitor devices, if in fact such devices don’t beat Apple to market. For these reasons, plenty of people will most assuredly get their hands on AR glasses as soon as they become popularly available, and this will breathe new life into augmented reality apps.
For many, this knowledge leads only to discussions of gaming. Indeed, some exciting new games could be released, and some of the existing AR games could work much more smoothly through glasses than they do through phone screens. The implications of this technological development, however, ultimately go well beyond gaming. There are in fact several ways that we could see AR glasses’ functionality threaded into your everyday lives. A few of those ways are explored below.
Needless to say, we communicate largely through our mobile phones these days. That communication can still take any number of forms, from texts, emails, and social media to video calls and good old-fashioned phone calls. But for the most part, it’s still happening through our phones. AR glasses are expected to be in large part extensions of our phones, or even better versions of smart watches in that they can take some basic functions and put them, in the simplest terms, in front of us. More to the point, those wearing AR glasses may see messages flashing across their eyes, see notifications for incoming calls or emails, or even be able to jump right into chats in which they can see the people they’re speaking to (though two-way video chatting would still require more of an effort).
AR navigation has already been developed, at the very least through some developers working with Google Maps. Even so, there’s not much talk just yet about how it can be put to use through AR glasses. Once you think of the idea though it’s about as obvious and perfect an application as one could imagine. We could wear glasses and see directions and alerts relevant to navigation right before our eyes in a way that’s informative without being the slightest bit distracting.
Sports betting may not come about as quickly as communication and navigation, but it could wind up being one of the cooler applications. To understand it properly, consider the NBA as an example. The league has been at the forefront of a push to allow for legal betting in the U.S., and such activity is now being regulated state by state. There are now numerous sources for legal NBA betting, some available in the U.S., and at the same time the NBA has also experimented lightly with different virtual spectatorship options. Combining the two you can begin to imagine the resulting activity: watching an NBA game in AR glasses, either on TV or in person, and seeing live betting updates or even new wagering opportunities scrolling across your lenses at the appropriate times.
TV viewing, and for that matter film viewing as well, could be transformed to some extent by AR glasses. Basically, the technology has the potential to provide us with some of the basic data we commonly seek out when watching TV or movies – guide listings, the names of cast members, which episode of which season is on, etc. – right before our eyes. Imagine, if you will, watching an episode of the upcoming final season of Game Of Thrones season, wondering who a given newcomer on screen is, saying aloud, “cast,” and having the names of the actors on screen flicker before you. It’s not a direct application we’ve heard about, but it’s very much possible with AR glasses.