Television and entertainment services battled for years against digital streaming and online service. However, once they started to adjust business models, the concerns reduced and highly profitable systems evolved such as NetFlix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and of course Apple TV Plus.
These masters of streaming entertainment have brought all sorts of variations to the public, from simple streaming services to rewindable live TV, and even the latest movies (often without additional costs).
Therefore, it is hardly surprising that in the hunt for something new and different, Apple has decided to venture into an augmented reality entertainment option.
Apple already has much of the hardware in place, including headsets and phones with the required technology to allow augmented entertainment to work perfectly.
Why is Apple Now Adding Augmented Reality TV?
According to the report from Bloomberg, Apple plans to release this augmented content on its streaming service next year. While it is a novelty and possibly highly entertaining addition to Apple TV Plus, the reason for its launch has some other factors behind it.
There have been some rumors that Apple is taking a strong interest in augmented content. They have reportedly been adding chips required for such software to work effectively into their popular phone models and tablet lines, and are also working on a single headset that could do virtual reality and augmented reality from one device. The potential of smart augmented reality glasses for 2023 is another exciting factor.
The move towards augmented content was delayed by COVID19 originally. However, things are now back in motion and there is a likelihood that it will be released next year.
How Will Augmented Reality TV Plus Content Work?
Although it is possible that in the future we may be watching entire storylines played out in our living rooms, it is likely to be some time before that is realistic.
In the case of Apple TV augmented reality, it is likely to come in the form of additional content or possibly simplified scenes of the show that could be augmented into the real world.
This could work as personal interviews with the actors and actresses, directors cut clips or action scenes created specifically for augmented reality entertainment. This ‘fun’ twist on normal TV streaming is likely to have two benefits.
Firstly, entertained subscribers remain subscribers for longer. If Apple offers something that other services are unable to yet provide, it could also attract new subscribers from their competition.
Secondly, as we mentioned earlier, Apple has been working towards an augmented reality headset. THE VERGE reported late 2019 that Apple is planning their augmented products to be released in 2021-2022 for a full headset and 2023 for augmented reality glasses. While the main headset is likely to resemble current offerings, the glasses are going to be designed for long usage periods.
What Will Apple’s Augmented Reality Headset Offer?
Apple addicts are excited about Apple heading into augmented reality entertainment. There are likely to be some high-quality and powerful devices coming to the Apple lineup.
It is expected that the glasses will be thicker than normal glasses, but that the batteries and chipsets will be constructed into the frames. If this is achievable, it will be a revolutionary step for augmented reality. In theory, as these develop, they could be worn all day and present information or entertainment almost anywhere without needing a cell phone.
As the information could be overlaid, if the chipsets can be powerful enough, augmented reality glasses could change how we use digital devices. Mobile devices replaced many aspects of computers, radio, TV, gaming consoles, alarm clocks, calendars, flashlights, and more.
Augmented reality through smart-glasses could potentially replace many of today’s objects, such as laptops, monitors, TVs, and more. Users will be able to interact with virtual objects using gestures. Initially, it is likely that the computing power would come from a mobile device, but later could be built into the glasses themselves.
One interesting twist is that these smart glasses may come with prescription lenses. This would make the experience for people with eyesight issues more enjoyable and also make the glasses a possible replacement for their normal glasses.
Mac Rumours also reported that the headset will likely come with “features like 3D scanning and advanced human detection”. Apple seems to be aiming to create a sleeker and more compact headset than those currently available, but with the power to accurately map out and interpret the real-world.
It is also suggested in reports that the ‘headset’ could support both virtual realities and augmented reality, without needing to be connected with cables to a computer or phone. It is unlikely, however, that the computing power will be built into the headset. Instead, there will probably be a designated device that wirelessly streams the information to the headset.
The software powering these devices is rOS, which is apparently based on IOS, but with a focus on virtual ‘reality’, hence the ‘r’. It is also likely that users will be able to access and download the software directly from within the headsets.
The potential for the company to first really make ‘augmented object usage’ mainstream could be huge. Apple augmented reality experiences are already gaining traction, with diverse ways of learning, viewing, and playing.
How Could Augmented Entertainment Develop?
The future of augmented reality is an interesting topic, as so much is potentially possible to achieve with this technology. At the moment, device sizes and costs are hindering mainstream adoption, but as costs reduce and devices become far more compact, potential uses are endless. For entertainment, we could see:
- Gaming – started by Pokemon Go, augmented reality gaming is leaping ahead. Now, entire battles can be played out on the living room floor, or you can run around your area killing zombies.
- TV – We mention that it could add ‘extras’, but as things develop it could take 3D to another level or have random ‘surprises’ embedded in normal TV. Imagine, for example, a normal horror movie wherein random parts things suddenly jump out of the screen into your living room. If using virtual reality, you could almost literally experience standing in the middle of amazing scenes.
- Escapism & Decoration – augmented reality offers the possibility to change your environment. It could be as simple as changing the wall color, to having your living room appear like an underwater paradise. For relaxation and a change from the norm, this is a flexible and fun solution.
- Travel – This is an exciting area. Not only can destinations such as museums be enhanced with augmented effects and information, but the journey anywhere can be fun as well. Drives or flights could offer hours of fun entertainment, instead of simply staring out of the window.
- Replacement – as devices become more comfortable to wear, the need for widescreen monitors and TVs could disappear. Augmented reality could replace many of the devices we currently use for entertainment.
- Real Inside Virtual – We are already starting to see some activities and games where only selected real-world objects are included, but the environment around them is virtual or could be a virtually enhanced version of the real world.
- Fun Education – books, the house, our bodies, and more can be explored and brought to life in fun and educational ways via augmented reality.
- Participation – Shows or other entertainment could be brought into the home. Users could participate in events, activities, and challenges … just as they have seen them on TV. Not only would it be fun, but it would also give an insight into what show contestants experience.
- Promotions – Although we often don’t like adverts or junk mail, augmented reality promotions could be extremely entertaining and information.
- Music – See your favorite singer in your living room in full 3D, or have lyrics instantly displayed to whatever songs you hear.
- Sports – virtual and augmented reality can help to bring sports to life. From overlaying information to allowing the viewer to be virtually seated courtside.
As technologies develop and ideas expand, this could become more than we can currently imagine. However, what is almost certain is that how we see and interact with the world around us is almost certainly going to be augmented in the future.
If Apple has its way, the experience will be through lightweight and wireless glasses, enabling comfortable usage for longer.