Why Apple's Entrance into AR and VR Changes the Game for Marketers

Jodi Schiller

October 20, 2017

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Tim Cooke has made it clear he is strongly invested in the future of AR.

“The smartphone is for everyone. We don’t have to think the iPhone is about a certain demographic or country or vertical market; it’s for everyone. I think AR is that big. It’s huge. I get excited because of the things that could be done that could improve a lot of lives, and be entertaining. I view AR like I view the silicon here in my iPhone: it’s not a product per se; it’s a core technology.” — Tim Cooke, CEO, Apple

With the launch in recent months of Facebook’s AR Studio and now Apple’s ARKit, there should be no hesitation for brands to start diving into the waters and exploring what works for their brands in AR. It only gets bigger and better from here. If you launch your AR and VR campaigns when the pool is still small, you make a much larger impact and grow as the industry and consumer base grows. If you wait to dive in after everyone is already there, and the amount of AR experiences have become an ocean, you then might remain just a drop in the bucket.

AR is Huge!

The biggest problem faced by intrepid AR marketers thus far has been the question of distribution, often relying on third party aggregation apps or baking a custom experience into their own mobile app. But with big players like Apple in the game with a native platform, this accessibility challenge may become a thing of the past.

Shazam, Facebook, and Snapchat have already done their best to reach mass-market, but with Apple now joining the fray, AR will become more readily accessible than ever before. It only gets better from here. With this ease of access, consumers can use their phones to experience magical AR everywhere they go without having to download a special app. By making this platform available on every iPhone and iPad, Apple has instantly opened the floodgates on mixed reality by covering the globe with first-weekend sales that could potentially exceed 40�"60 million units, based on prior iPhone launch statistics. Having AR-capable devices delivered at such speed and scale would certainly send both brands and consumers into a frenzy over the immediate demand for readily available content.

Down the road, this could position Apple to become the dominant and most profitable hardware-enabled, mobile AR player, scaling from zero to hundreds of millions of iPhone AR users by 2021. Apple has been looking for a catalyst to take it beyond Steve Jobs’ legacy, and this could give it a real chance of becoming a 100-year company. Certainly from Tom Cooke’s frequent and powerful comments about the transformational power of AR, it could be this is the biggest thing on his mind when looking at the direction for mobile going forward.

What can marketers do with AR? Practically anything! By suddenly turning an empty room into a captivating experience, you can immediately increase brand engagement, affinity, shareability, and even motivate purchasing decisions. Work with your mixed reality marketing expert to create a campaign that moves your KPIs. Specialists know the industry, what has been done, what can be done, and what’s best for your target demographic (although there is still much to explore here). They can bring together their expert knowledge of software development, AR/VR, and marketing to deliver the most successful experiences.

More Accessible VR

If Apple delivers on their promise to boost their desktops, the VR user base may grow, although the price point will be $1,799 and up. Up until now, PCs led the market for quality VR experiences, and it’s been mostly limited to computers optimized for gaming (generally costing $1800 and up). Now, presumably, anyone with a new iMac Retina 5k will be ready to go once they buy an HTC Vive headset ($800) and connect to the SteamVR store. Once connected, the consumer will have access to all the high-end VR games, stories, and marketing content. What this means for marketers is an expansion of consumers with the right hardware to experience high-end VR at home, now that the Mac user has a more seamless way to enter the VR arena.

Already, Samsung and Google provide quality VR mobile experiences that brands can leverage to reach consumers with the power of empathy-generating experiences that only VR can provide. Even a Google Cardboard can provide new experiences for brands to connect with their consumers and enhance their advertising or marketing with new ways of telling their stories. The leap from using mobile VR to using an HTC Vive includes a large leap in the quality and immersion of the experience. Apple’s entrance into the field can only make that kind of leap more and more likely for the regular consumer, giving them an opportunity to experience a much higher level of “reality” in the virtual world.

If you are interested in launching either an AR/VR/MR campaign, reach out to New Reality Arts. We’d love to be your partners in creating your future mixed reality marketing success.

Originally posted on New Reality Arts.

Opinions expressed by the author are not necessarily those of WITI.

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