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Apple's Latest Augmented Reality Updates Will Shake Things Up for Brands

AR is on the verge of going mainstream, and businesses need to figure out how to implement these new experiences to reach customers.

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Let’s face it: every time Apple launches a new iPhone to the world (or any other product for that matter), people take immediate notice.

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Its most recent releases, the iPhone 8 and iPhone X, have many people talking about the future of augmented reality and the way it will change the world.

And we’re not just talking about consumers here. Brands big and small, spanning a variety of industries, must take notice of how these smartphones are changing the augmented reality game.

Related: The iPhone 8 Will Influence the Mobile Community for Years to Come

With the latest iPhones designed for augmented reality, brands must think about ways to develop augmented experiences. Those that do this with success will move to the front of their space. Those who ignore this will get left behind. This means one thing: the time for development is now.

A (not so) long time coming

Apple introduced ARKit at WWDC earlier this year and it was one of the first indications that Cupertino would be putting a lot of time, money and resources into developing an “out of this world” augmented reality platform.

At the time, Apple described ARKit as follows: “ARKit provides a cutting-edge platform for developing augmented reality (AR) apps for iPhone and iPad.”

While waiting around for Apple to make its next move, many companies, including Google with its ARCore platform, jumped in on the action.

Of course, Apple has long had something up its sleeve. And that something was the release of the newest iPhones. The company announced that all of its new iPhones -- with the assumption that this will include future releases beyond the iPhone 8 and iPhone X -- will be designed to be augmented reality ready.

To the average iPhone user, the thought of their device being augmented reality ready may not mean that much. However, to those who have been waiting on this, including brands that want to develop an augmented reality mobile or web platform, it’s among the best things they could have heard.

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According to Apple’s Phil Schiller, the cameras in the new iPhones are calibrated for augmented reality, meaning that they are fully capable of handling 60 fps video, which is the perfect environment for an augmented reality application.

Just as important is the implementation of a new accelerometer and gyroscope, which is key to accurate motion tracking. Its features such as this that can make or break a device in regards to the augmented reality experience it provides.

Brands are already making major moves

Augmented reality development isn't simple, but Apple has gone a long way in making this more accessible to a larger number of developers. For example, Major League Baseball (MLB) is getting in on the action.

The MLB at-bat app will now have augmented reality capabilities on the iPhone 8, giving baseball fans access to more action, data and stats than ever before.

Here’s how it will work: by pointing your iPhone 8 toward the field during an MLB game, users will be able to see information and stats for each player. Forget about searching online for how many homeruns Aaron Judge has hit this season. You can use the iPhone to collect this information in the fastest and most efficient manner possible.

What are brands doing to prepare?

Augmented reality is a trillion-dollar industry that has growth potential unlike anything we’ve seen over the past several decades. Think about this in the same light as when televisions first made their way to the mass market.

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Over the next few years, thanks to companies such as Apple pushing augmented reality to the public, this technology will change the way that people shop, work and entertain themselves.

Brands are looking for ways to use augmented reality to not only attract new consumers, but to also boost sales and profits. For some, this means adding something to the real world (see the MLB example above) that really doesn’t exist. For others, this could also mean taking something away, such as allowing consumers to only see items in a store that suit their personal tastes.

The days of thinking of augmented reality as nothing more than a pipedream are gone. Apple, among many other companies, are making sure augmented reality technology continues to push forward, one big step at a time.

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