Google Glass
Two attendees wearing Google Glass listen to the opening keynote during the annual Google I/O developers conference in San Jose, California, U.S., May 17, 2017. Reuters/Stephen Lam

When Google Glass helped fire fighters find the fastest exit routes from a building, it brought to the fore the importance of Augmented Reality (AR). Now, it it also Apple’s new big area of focus. The company spoke about it earlier this month at the Worldwide Developers Conference.

The technology involves overlaying digital objects using a screen. Steven Milunovich, UBS Securities analyst, has raised very interesting possibilities surrounding the tech. Apple has already used AR on the iPhone, demonstrating how to overlay an interactive game board on a real table. However, AR is about to play a much bigger role. Milunovich expects to see applications for facial recognition, job training, medical diagnosis and also the ability to help people in case of emergencies.

For example, emergency first aid saves lives, and it involves a combination of instant education and remote healthcare. Of course, there are legal issues that may not be overcome but can be solved. Milunovich believes that in near future, Apple may come out with iGlass, which would basically be the company’s take on the Google Glass-type headset. Advances in headset technology can make this possible. The idea will be to make the non-geek population use the life-saving technology.

Experts have predicted an AR boom in the future. Virtual Reality (VR) and AR is expected to grow from 10 million headsets in 2016 to 100 million in 2021, predicts International Data Corp. VR could be slightly ahead of AR, though most consumers will be introduced to the technology through their smartphones.

There is a lot of buzz surrounding the 10th anniversary iPhone. Fans are expecting revolutionary features. Could AR be an important feature of the iPhone 8? Previously Apple CEO Tim Cook described AR as “a big idea like the smartphone.”

“[We] can picture the phone looking like a clear piece of glass when looking through the camera ... Rather than staring down at a screen while we walk across the street or stand in line, we would be far more engaged with the world around us,” Cook has said, reports The Sydney Morning Herald.

The augmented reality tools the Cupertino tech giant introduced earlier in June opened up a wide range of possibilities, especially for developers. It has also brought to the fore Apple’s tremendous interest in AR. Stay tuned on IBT AU for more updates on Apple’s take on AR.