Apple wants to build a new computing platform with AR


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Apple’s plan to create an App Store and an easy way to create mixed-reality apps offers an important insight into its strategy and confirms that the company sees these devices as platforms, not peripherals. And when considering the business case for them, we need to see whether they hit that mark.

A new platform

The big-ticket news is that Apple wants to make it possible for any user to create AR/VR apps for these devices. (It even seems ready to allow Siri to drop items into virtual experiences.)

Critics argue that Apple may not have identified a key app for these unannounced systems. And they note that the cost of the device (apparently $2,000+), limited battery life, and small content catalogue at launch means consumers will be less interested.

But I never believed Apple is gunning for the consumer market just yet. It has a larger objective. I think it sees the first iterations of these devices as the birth of a new computing platform, more like the introduction of the Mac than of the iPhone.

Apple wants to build a new paradigm

Think back to two other great computing inflection points: the invention of desktop publishing and the creation of the first significant mobile app store for iPhone.

Just as desktop publishing spawned tens of thousands of computer-driven graphic designers and the App Store begat hundreds of thousands of app developers, Apple wants its mixed-reality glasses to have the same degree of impact.