Report: Apple will debut AR in one or two years, maybe in its self-driving car tech

Apple could incorporate AR elements in the iPhone, the Apple Watch, the Apple TV, and even in self-driving car technology.

pokemon go phone
Credit: Niantic

Apple may be lagging behind when it comes to augmented reality now—but once the company catches up, AR will be a prominent feature across all of Apple’s products.

Apple’s first foray into augmented reality will launch in the next year or two, according to KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Apple’s AR technology will most likely be integrated into a next-generation iPhone, as we’ve already seen with iOS apps like Snapchat and Pokémon Go. It’s also possible that Apple plans to use the iPhone to power an all-new augmented reality headset.

In a note obtained by AppleInsider, Kuo writes to investors that it makes sense for Apple to embrace AR, given Cupertino’s success with popularizing innovative user-interfaces. Kuo notes that Apple has fallen behind Google, Microsoft, and Facebook in the AR department because the technology is still premature, requiring bulky setups and a lot of computational power.

Once Apple is able to make augmented reality user-friendly, we can expect the company to integrate it across all of its products. According to Kuo, AR could be a prominent feature in the iPhone, the Apple Watch, the Apple TV, and even Apple’s forthcoming self-driving car technology.

Recently, it was reported that Apple had abandoned its ambitious plans to create a car, opting instead to focus on building the self-driving software. Apple’s self-driving software will reportedly incorporate a “heads-up display,” as well as Siri voice commands. 

The story behind the story: As tech companies continue to invest in both virtual and augmented reality products, Apple seems particularly interested in AR. This summer, Apple CEO Tim Cook was upfront with investors about the company’s future in augmented reality.

“We are high on AR for the long run, we think there’s great things for customers and a great commercial opportunity…. it will be huge,” Cook said during its quarterly earnings call in July.

In October during a tech panel, Cook doubled down on Apple’s commitment to launching AR products, but admitted that augmented reality did have its challenges.

“AR is going to take a while, because there are some really hard technology challenges there,” he said. “But it will happen, it will happen in a big way, and we will wonder when it does, how we ever lived without it. Like we wonder how we lived without our phone today.”

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