In July I took my family to Disney World for our summer vacation. I also brought along my HoloLens and, one promising morning, brought it into the park to create some holographic memories. Security was very chill about it and I got a few hours in before the device finally overheated from being under the Orlando sun for too long.
It was around the same time that indie devs, studios and agencies started publishing ARKit videos. ARKit is probably the best thing to happen to the HoloLens in the past year. While the HoloLens has incredible hardware and technical capabilities, this comes at a price – literally the price: $3,000 to $5,000 depending on the SKU you purchase. This has necessarily limited the number of developers who have access to it and can build things with it.
ARKit lowers the bar for developers who want to take AR for a spin. It makes AR more accessible than it’s buffed out cousin the HoloLens, in the same way that Google Cardboard gave VR a bigger boost than the better appointed but more expensive cousins, Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, did.
People like to use a hackneyed phrase to describe this: “democratization”. But this is to confuse consumerism with a political process. The consumerization and eventual commoditization of AR brings the potential of AR back into everyone’s consciousness.
More than this, ARKit creates some welcome competition for the HoloLens. With the slow rollout of the Meta 2 (about a year late) and Magic Leap (who knows?) it was starting to feel like the HoloLens was too far ahead of its time. This is a bad place to be, since in the past, Microsoft has tended to go on vacation after coming out with similar products that were ahead of their times.
In the business of incubating a technological and experiential revolution, there is no time for vacations—figuratively speaking.