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This Fall Apple will be releasing iOS 11 and have been updating their public beta versions over the past month. Given that their annual iPhone event is taking place on September 12th, expect the update to be available sometime following this date. iOS has been around for about 10 years but this version is of particular interest to many people due to the unique added capabilities that are going to be available, one of which is the new AR framework that they have implemented into iOS 11. With this update Apple has transformed the user experience completely and has put a big emphasis on people multitasking and being able to utilize applications simultaneously.
Key Features of iOS 11:
Introduction of new APIs in iOS 11:
While there were many updates and changes to iOS 11, the most notable update we have seen is the implementation of an ARKit that will let developers build AR features into applications. Developers have been busy creating apps using the ARKit; we will be keeping a close eye on enterprise use cases.
Notable consumer applications being created by developers using APIs:
What does this ARKit mean for Apple moving forward in the enterprise?
The introduction of this ARKit by Apple is notable as it will enable the company to move beyond the traditional 2D Camera without implementing costly and complex software engineering, and generate additional opportunities not just on the consumer side but the enterprise side as well. Many software developers see AR as being a huge advantage for enterprises to improve workflows and be more efficient, and Apple’s new ARKit will likely become the biggest seller of AR devices given the large base of existing users and developers they have. While Apple does see opportunity for enterprise traction with their AR platform, Microsoft and Google still hold many technical / product related advantages and many companies are currently utilizing this technology in their operations. With this ARKit Apple can now obtain potential customers using some of the following enterprise use cases:
Competition with Microsoft, Facebook, and Google’s AR Platforms?
Google - This new framework also puts Apple in a better position to compete with the likes of Google, Microsoft, and Facebook, all of whom have developed AR platforms for enterprise / consumer use. The one distinct advantage that Apple’s ARKit holds over the Tango platform is the fact that it will be available on a wide range of existing devices; Google has relied on android manufacturers to implement the Tango platform into their phones. Google recently unveiled a developer preview of ARCore, the company's successor to Tango. ARCore currently supports Google's Pixel devices, as well as Samsung's Galaxy S8); ARCore will use surface detection technologies like Apple's ARKit.
Apple is likely to attract developer attention as they can leverage their existing device portfolio with ARKit; Google will need to convince its customers to acquire specialized devices—however, Google is expected to open up ARCore to all Android devices going forward.
Microsoft – Microsoft has established its position as a leader in the AR market leader with its HoloLens glasses that are powered through its Windows mixed reality platform. While they have seen success in the enterprise with organizations like NASA, Stryker, Lowe’s, and the U.S. Military, they have not released a consumer version of their HoloLens and most likely won’t until 2019. Although Microsoft is in development of consumer focused AR / VR solutions, they are still faced with increasing threat from the likes of Apple who are trying to penetrate the consumer market. In terms of the functional capabilities of their AR offerings Microsoft is very far ahead of Apple, but Apple holds an advantage in the fact that they have a bigger base of registered developers (16 million) and will be able to churn out more apps. Assuming just a mere 5% (800K developers) of these registered developers create AR apps for Apple this year, this will surpass Microsoft significantly who only had few thousand developers create 150 HoloLens specific apps. Moving forward, we expect Microsoft to increase its marketing initiatives and partnerships around AR apps in order to penetrate the massive consumer market opportunity.
Facebook – In April of 2017, Facebook released their Camera Effects platform which developers can use to create AR applications. Similar to Apple, Facebook has several advantages in trying to penetrate the consumer market with the primary 2 being their established monthly user base and the resources / experience they have around developers. Although these are important for generating opportunities within this market, developers using Apple’s ARKit can insert AR features directly into iOS applications which is something Facebook can’t compete with. Moving forward expect Apple and Facebook to compete heavily in the consumer market, with Apple making more progress with the release of their ARKit just 6 weeks after Facebook launched their platform.
View the 2017 Enterprise Mobility & Connected Devices Research Outline to learn more.